November 15-30, 2003 Edition

German Cartel Okays

Two Key Takeovers

by Bertlesmann, Random House

FRANKFURT/11/25/2003—Media conglomerate Bertelsmann [BERT.UL] received approval Tuesday from Germany’s cartel office to acquire Heyne, the largest division of German book publisher Ullstein Heyne.

The cartel also approved the takeover by Bertelsmann-owned Random House, the world’s biggest publisher, part of the Ullstein Heyne publishing unit of Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE: ).

The anti-trust cartel refused Bertelsmann’s earlier plan to buy German publisher Axel Springer’s (SPRGn.DE) Ullstein book unit, which would have given Bertelsmann a 40 percent market share in trade paperbacks. Bertelsmann subsequently limited the takeover to Heyne. Then, Random House was allowed to take over Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, part of the Ullstein operation.

The Heyne takeover by itself will give Bertelsmann less than 30 percent of the German paperback market, considered acceptable by the German watchdog cartel.