Bertelsmann Wants Out

One of Germany’s leading national papers has revealed that Bertelsmann wants to sell its Sony-BMG stake to its partner, although the U.K.’s serious papers have been saying that for more than a month.

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Bertelsmann boss Hartmut Ostrowski has decided to get out of the music business because of falling sales.

U.K. business analysts began wondering in December if Ostrowski was looking for a strategy to exit the business, particularly after he told a room full of the 178-year-old Gütersloh-based company’s top execs that it was time to "evaluate our business areas and, if necessary, take tough decisions."

"It goes without saying that we will keep an especially close eye on operations whose business is shrinking," he explained.

Ostrowski has often been quoted as saying the good thing about the business is that more people are listening to music than ever before, but the bad thing is that it’s not easy to monetize.

Having promised he’d create a euro 5 billion acquisitions coffer within five years, he may well be tempted to add to the euro 1.63 billion the privately owned media giant made from selling its publishing business to Universal Music Group in 2006 for what analysts estimate at about euro 1.25 billion.