According to the Financial Times:
- Bertelsmann, the privately owned German media group, is considering the outright sale or closure of its online books and music operations – the second largest in the world – in the latest phase of its restructuring.
The move signals a strategic U-turn following the resignation of Thomas Middelhoff as Bertelsmann chief executive following in a boardroom coup in July. Mr Middelhoff had hoped to transform the company into the global leader in book and music retailing.
Bertelsmann’s management board, however, has approved plans to scale back or withdraw entirely from e-commerce operations.
The German group is understood to be in talks with several online companies, including Amazon, the US-based internet retailer, over the sale of its Bol.com books business and its BeMusic subsidiary. Bankers have valued Bol.com and BeMusic, both part of Bertelsmann’s DirectGroup division, at €2.1bn and €120m respectively.
Under the plans, Bertelsmann is also expected to withhold further funding from Napster, the controversial online music business accused of flouting copyright rules.
Napster, acquired by Bertelsmann in May, is due to emerge shortly from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. But the music-swapping service is likely to close without funding guarantees from Bertelsmann.
Officials at the German group declined to comment on Sunday…..