Media mammoth Bertelsmann has decided to fold its loss-making Bertelsmann Online (Bol) e-commerce unit into its book club division, which is not expected to enter the black until next year.

Bol, whose London headquarters will be shut, loses its independent status.

The move is part of what Klaus Eierhoff, head of the Bertelsmann Direct Group housing the book clubs and the BMG music unit, calls a “multi-channel strategy”, integrating on and offline activities. Bol will provide the book clubs with e-commerce expertise, receiving in return the latter’s direct marketing know-how.

Cynical observers suggest that the move has more to do with cost-cutting in order to aid Bertelsmann’s flotation plans.

News source: Handelsblatt (Germany)