Bertelsmann Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas Middelhoff said Thursday that the German media company has more than $4 billion to spend and will look for potential acquisitions as rivals' shares fall.
Middelhoff disclosed the war chest in announcing the results of the privately held company's fiscal year, which ended in June. The company said net income rose 44% to $891 million, fueled by its majority stake in European broadcaster RTL Group.
The announcement stoked speculation that Middelhoff would attempt to buy British music giant EMI Group. EMI and Bertelsmann's music division, BMG, scrapped a merger plan this year in the face of opposition from European regulators.
The results come as Middelhoff is moving to stabilize management at BMG, which ranks third among the five major record companies in current-album sales in the U.S., according to SoundScan.