Bertelsmann Unit to Sell US Magazines Arm

25 May 2005

German-headquartered publisher Gruner + Jahr is set to sell its US magazine stable.

Failure to solve ongoing problems in its American operations has exhausted the patience of G+J's parent, the European media giant Bertelsmann.

G+J publishes stateside titles ranging from business magazine Fast Company to Family Circle. Although all concerned remain tight-lipped about a sale, possible buyers could include Meredith, in Iowa, and CurtCo Media, in California, reports the Wall Street Journal. Both companies would have room in their stable for G+J titles.

Bernd Kundrun, head of G+J in Germany, has been under pressure from Bertelsmann to improve US performance for around a year. He has said that 2004 was tough, despite the business turning a profit.

Bertelsmann began an aggressive expansion strategy in America during the tenure of former ceo Thomas Middelhoff, who believed it was necessary for the group's overall success.

However, current chief Gunter Thielen has steered a different course, concentrating on the core European market and emerging countries during the last three years.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff