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Given the mandate, can Barry Weiss turn the company around, or do the Guterslohers feel they need to bring in J Records founder Clive Davis or Arista honcho Antonio "L.A." Reid to get things back on track?

BERTIE’S QUANDARY

German Major Weighs Label Options

Bertelsmann’s assertion that it will close its acquisition of Zomba/Jive by Christmas has wonderers wondering how the Germans might make lemonade out of the $3 billion lemon that’s coming to be known as Middelhoff’s Folly.

Given that they’ll be paying a hefty premium for a company whose flagship operation has seen its U.S. marketshare plummet by more than 60% in the absence of Zomba/Jive founder Clive Calder (who has been hands-off for months), who will they get to protect their investment?

Pointers pointing to Justin Timberlake’s solo project as likely to help reverse Jive’s fortunes, but the executive question remains. What about Jive chief Barry Weiss?

Given the mandate, could Weiss turn the company around, or do the Guterslohers feel they need to bring in J Records founder Clive Davis or Arista honcho Antonio "L.A." Reid to get things back on track?

Both Davis and Reid appear likely to pick up bigger pieces of a reconfigured BMG, with J Records CFO Charles Goldstuck reportedly already hunkered down in negotiations that would result in Davis being bought out and given a larger role within the company—a very ironic notion to anyone who remembers the phrase "mandatory retirement."

Meanwhile, a planned reorganization of RCA under Bob Jamieson and Richard Sanders is postponed with "all hirings and firings put on hold supposedly until the first of the year" as speculation increases that Arista/Jive and RCA/J combinations will be part of the new BMG outcome.

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