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Bertelsmann to "Take Over Weaker Rivals"

[Berlin] The newly founded Internet e-commerce department of Bertelsmann plans to take over rivals with liquidity problems. "Many dreams result in nightmares if a company runs out of money. I do not exclude a scenario in which Bertelsmann will then step in and take over a company," commented Andreas Schmidt, CEO of the Bertelsmann E-Commerce Group to the German newspaper 'Welt am Sonntag'. With such acquisitions, the company wants to improve its standing in the e-commerce sector, by striving towards a "global market leadership position in e-commerce for media products."

He went on to comment that a fusion of the two online retailers BOL and Barnesandnoble.com is still possible. Decisions will be made during the next weeks. BOL also wants to establish offices in Japan. Schmidt sees further possible distribution channels in WAP services for mobile phones and computers, and for this purpose alliances with mobile phone operators are currently being discussed.

Customer data which has been collected online will be used to a greater extent for personalized advertising. "If we know that a customer has bought three books by John Grisham, we can offer him a free test read of the latest book or offer him an exclusive copy which can be purchased before the book is issued on general sale," explained Schmidt, former CEO of AOL Europe.



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