Bertelsmann AG

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(Redirected from BMG)

Bertelsmann is a transnational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gtersloh, Germany. Corporate divisions are the European broadcaster RTL Group, the Gruner und Jahr (G+J) magazine publisher (biggest in Europe and second biggest world wide), the Bertelsmann Music Group BMG and book publishers Random House (popular literature), as well as further subdivisions and trade marks.

Bertelsmann also is a huge content maker (Fremantle ►Family Feud; ► American Idol, Pop Idol; ► Good Times, Bad Times.

As of August 2004, a 50-50 merger between the music groups of BMG and Sony has been completed, reducing the Big Five of music companies to the Big Four. Sony BMG and Universal control over 60% of the global music market. [1] (

Bertelsmann AG is situated in 51 countries and employs over 70.000 workers. In 2002 the all over cash-flow was 18.3 billion.

Bertelsmann made headlines on May 17, 2002, when it announced it would acquire the assets of Napster for $8 million.


The C. Bertelsmann Verlag was founded as a print shop cum publishing house in July, 1835 by Carl Bertelsmann. At first Bertelsmann concentrated on Christian songs and books. In 1851 led by Carl Bertelsmann's son, Heinrich, the publishing programme was extended into the area of novels. During the following years Bertelsmann expanded steadily. By 1939 the publishing house employed 400 people.

After World War II, in which the publishing house was closed for some time, but nevertheless published books by national-socialistic authors like Will Vesper (who did the commemorative speech at the 1933 book burning) or Hans Grimm, the company was re-founded by Reinhard Mohn, fifth generation of the Bertelsmann family. In the 1950s, Bertelsmann expanded with the Bertelsmann Lesering (readers ring) and the founding of the LP label Ariola Records in 1958, which marks the entry in the music market. In 1964 Bertelsmann bought the Ufa Filmproduktionsgesellschaft as entry in the movie market. Ufa was sold in the 1970s. In 1969, Bertelsmann bought into the Gruner und Jahr publishing house (newspapers, magazines), in 1973 becoming majority owner.

Since the 1980s, Bertelsmann has expanded internationally: in 1979 it bought the American Arista Records label, in 1980 Bantam Books, in 1986 the label RCA Victor and the publishing house Doubleday. Distributes Windham Hill Records sinds 1989. In 1992 it acquires 50% of Windham Hill Records and in 1996 it takes full control.

The activities in the music market are bundled into the label BMG.

In 1993, Reinhard Mohn as owner of Bertelsmann moves 68,8% of his Bertelsmann AG stock over to the Bertelsmann foundation.

From 1995 to 2000 Bertelsmann cooperates with AOL in Europe as player in the multi media market.

In 1995 the Ufa Film- und Fernseh-GmbH merges with CLT, Luxembourg. The result is known as RTL Group, the biggest private radio and TV broadcaster in Europe.

In 1998 Thomas Middelhoff becomes CEO of Bertelsmann. He buys the Random House publishing house and concentrates book publishing in the USA under this label.

In February 2001, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, one of Belgium's top ten companies and 25% owned by Power Corporation of Canada of Montreal, Quebec, acquired control of Bertelsmann AG. Andr Desmarais, President and Chief Executive Officer, Power Corporation of Canada, was named to the Board.

2003, the new CEO Gunter Thielen expands the music branch BMG with the buying of Zomba Records.

In 2004, the London Borough of Camden, England brought anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) against Sony Music UK and BMG for alleged fly posting. Illegal fly posting by the two companies is thought to save them 8 million a year in advertising costs in Camden and cost the Borough 250,000 to clean up. Falling to comply with an ASBO can result in a jail sentence of up to 5 years.

External links

fr:Bertelsmann nl:Bertelsmann zh:贝塔斯曼


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