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Bertelsmann reportedly keen to sell Sony BMG stake

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12:24 CEST+02:00
German media group Bertelsmann is in talks with Japanese partner Sony to sell its half in their jointly owned music company Sony BMG, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Each has owned half of the music publishing firm since 2004, and Sony has an option to buy should Bertelsmann decide to sell its stake, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper said, without identifying its source. A Bertelsmann spokesman contacted by AFP declined to comment on the report.

The newspaper explained that Bertelsmann boss Hartmut Ostrowski has decided to get out of the music business owing to falling sales caused by internet downloads.

The German group began its withdrawal from the sector two years ago when it sold the rights to BMG Music Publishing's catalogue to Vivendi. Bertelsmann and Sony have not yet agreed on a price for their deal, but it could nonetheless be finalised within a few months, the report said.

Bertelsmann is also active in television with the RTL group, publishing, with Gruner + Jahr and Random House, services, and book and record clubs.

Those clubs are currently being restructured however, and a partial sale is also expected at some point.

Sony BMG is one of the biggest music companies worldwide, and currently has contracts with singers including Alicia Keys, Celine Dion and Britney Spears.

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