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"Based on the seasonal nature of many Bertelsmann businesses, we expect higher revenues and a higher operating profit for the second half of the year than during the first half.”
——Gunter Thielen
BERTELSMANN AG EXTENDS TALKS WITH WARNER MUSIC
Reports Drop in Net Profit, Explains Converting Euros to Dollars
Last year, Bertelsmann made a killing in selling its share of AOL Europe to AOL Time Warner. This year, they’re trying to merge with AOL’s Warner Music. It’s a nutty, nutty world.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which doesn’t have a comics section for some reason, Warner Music and BMG have extended exclusive talks with Warner Music to form a joint venture in the U.S.

Bertelsmann reported its first-half net profit dropped this year compared to last year, primarily because in 2002 it sold €2.8-billion worth of AOL Europe back to AOL. This year’s net profit is just €142 million ($153.7 million), compared to €1.6 billion a year ago. The company said operating expenses rose from €175 million to €228 million, with revenue falling 11% to €7.88 billion, down from €8.83 billion. Then there was that one-time charge of €53 million ($57 million) for integrating Zomba/Jive and for restructuring in its music division.

But have no fear, the Germans are looking forward to a strong winter campaign, as sales in the second half of the year in its music and book-publishing units are timed to coincide with the traditional gift-giving seasons of Christmas and Hanukkah.

Said CEO Gunter Thielen: "Based on the seasonal nature of many Bertelsmann businesses, we expect higher revenues and a higher operating profit for the second half of the year than during the first half.”

The company also blamed a weakness of the dollar and the global economy in general on its sluggish first-half. The Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertie also owns Random House, European broadcaster RTL Group and an exciting collection of The Avengers on DVD.

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