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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