November 12, 2012 11:24 pm

G+J eyes FTD closure to stem losses

Gruner+Jahr (G+J), the magazine division of German media company Bertelsmann, is considering closing the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) newspaper, as part of a plan to stem losses at its business news unit.

A spokesman for Bertelsmann stressed that G+J’s management was also looking at turning FTD into a web-based product to cut costs, or selling part or all of the business unit, which publishes magazines including “Capital”. Approximately 350 jobs are potentially under threat.

FTD was launched in 2000 as a joint venture between Pearson, owner of the Financial Times, and G+J. Pearson sold its 50 per cent stake to its German partner at the beginning of 2008, giving G+J use of the brand ‘FT Deutschland’ for 10 years.

The newspaper sold more than 100,000 copies a day at its peak. But it has never made a profit, as it has struggled to compete against German competition, having launched into the dotcom crash on equity markets and Germany’s ensuing economic slowdown.

In its first bid to stop the losses, G+J combined FTD with its business magazines, pooling editorial and publishing functions. But that move failed to put the business news unit in the black.

The deliberations come a few months after a shake-up at the helm of G+J, prompted by Bertelsmann’s dissatisfaction with the division’s lacklustre push into web and digital. A decision on G+J’s business unit is scheduled for 21 November.

Bertelsmann recently tried to take full control of the magazine publisher by buying the one-quarter stake held by co-founders the Jahr family. But the two sides failed to agree.

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