Bertelsmann A





Case Analysis

Bertelsmann, a global media company, whose holdings include television, books, music, and printing, is considering the purchase of the publisher Random House. The backdrop for the purchase, laid out in the A case, is a publishing industry showing decreasing profitability, with the rise of celebrity-author advances and powerful retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Further complicating the decision is Bertelsmann's recent emphasis on multimedia operations, the development of which may threaten Bertelsmann's traditional print operations. The B case (UVA-BP-0419) describes Bertelsmann's purchase of Random House, and begins to make explicit the CEO's strategy for the purchase. As Bertelsmann makes a series of deals to become stronger in content delivery, difficulties with implementing new strategies under the current corporate structure are revealed. The B case leaves the reader considering where Bertelsmann should focus further investments and what structure will support a cultural shift. The C case (UVA-BP-0420) reveals Bertelsmann's decision to reorganize all e-commerce operations into one division.