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Bertelsmann Ditches Middelhoff’s Multi-Million Ad Plan

News, 13 August 2002

And another one bites the dust!

Gunter Thielen, the new broom at Bertelsmann, has axed another ambitious project of deposed head honcho Thomas Middelhoff.

The latest casualty is Middelhoff’s planned €multi-million international advertising campaign aimed at influencing the world investment community in the run-up to the group’s intended IPO by 2005. The decision will undoubtedly cause breast-beating at Hamburg shop Springer & Jacoby, slated by Middlehoff to handle the business.

An IPO now seems increasingly unlikely – not just as a result of the ad campaign’s demise – but because of Theilen’s stated policy to cede greater autonomy to the group’s diverse operating units. This would not please the money-men for whom tight centralized control is a security blanket.

On a different front, Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group, Europe’s largest commercial broadcaster is expected to announce today (Tuesday) the acquisition of a 47.3% stake in German news channel N-TV from publisher Holtzbrinck. The deal, which also includes minority holdings in twelve radio stations in (mainly eastern) Germany, is valued between €170 million ($166.01m; £108.82m) to €180m.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff