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Bertie Seeking New Investors

BERTIE EYES GROWTH: German media group Bertelsmann has completed a legal, structural change that will allow it to issue stock and take on new investors without diluting the power of the controlling Mohn family. Industry observers have long thought that the company could look at an IPO to raise money as long as the Mohns could remain in control. Bertelsmann called the conversion an "identity-preserving change of legal form,” and it’s being viewed as a major move. New CEO Thomas Rabe has said the company's focus needs to shift from its core markets inWestern Europe, where growth is slowing, to the high-growth territories in Asia and South America, while also boosting the company’s digital business. Many analysts view the company as too dependent on old media—particularly commercial television and print advertising—for its revenues, which last year were up slightly at around $19 billion (15.3 billion), though profits were down more than $15 million to $574 million (465 million). Its new legal structure should make it easier for the group to access international capital markets and investors without giving up much control, which the Mohn family has been resistant to do. (8/21a)

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