GUTERSLOH, Germany: Hot on the heels of its US book and music clubs sell-off, media giant Bertelsmann is embarking on the disposal of some of its struggling European direct-sale operations.

Says ceo, Hartmut Ostrowski: "We have decided to initiate the sale process for our businesses in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Flanders, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine."

It will, however, retai its businesses in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal.

Bertelsmann's move to divest itself of another large chunk of its Direct Group is part of an overhaul that aims to dispose of less profitable operations to pay down debt.

The music and book clubs model requires buyers to commit to regular purchases in exchange for discounts. But the businesses have faced significant difficulties with competition from music and movie internet downloads.

Earlier this week Bertelsmann agreed the sale of its North American direct-sales operation to private equity firm Najafi.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff