Friday, December 19, 2008

Bertelsmann Continues to Run Away From Direct Sales at Top Speed

Publishers Lunch -- delivered for breakfast today -- reports on a German-language press release from Bertelsmann announcing the sale of its British book-club operation, Book Club Associates.

BCA has been sold, for what's described as a "middle double-digit million euro" price, to the Munich holding company Aurelius, which previously owned no British companies.

BCA has 700,000 members, and had been knocked around quite a bit under the last few years of Bertlesmann ownership (and even before that, when they were half-owned by Reed), so perhaps this will bring some stability. But, in the way of all acquisitions, likely axes will fall first. Good luck to whoever is left at BCA after the changes of the past few years.


Anonymous said...

Were they part of one of the ancestor organizations to the US book clubs, or did Bertelsmann acquire them separately?

Andrew Wheeler said...

They were distant cousins of the US clubs for all the time I worked there, but I'm really not sure how BCA came into Bertelsmann's orbit.

Bertelsmann owned half of BCA for a long time -- with Reed (this was before their acquisition by Elsevier) owning the other half. I think that was, originally, due to a restriction on foreign ownership in the UK, but I could easily be wrong.

I did have the sense that there had been a long-standing relationship between the two groups, but even just the era of Bertlesmann ownership would push that back to the mid-80s, which is quite a while ago now.

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