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Gruner + Jahr Shuts Down Unprofitable FT Deutschland Newspaper

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Bertelsmann AG’s Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG unit decided to shut down its Financial Times Deutschland newspaper after the business publication failed to generate a profit since it was started 12 years ago.

The German-language newspaper, launched in 2000 as a joint venture with Financial Times publisher Pearson Plc, will publish its last edition on Dec. 7, Hamburg-based Gruner + Jahr said in an e-mailed statement today.

Newspaper and magazine publishers such as Gruner + Jahr, controlled by Europe’s biggest media company Bertelsmann, are struggling as print publications are becoming less popular with readers and advertisers amid a shift to the Internet. Frankfurter Rundschau, the German newspaper founded by the U.S. Army after World War II to promote democracy in Germany, filed for insolvency earlier this month.

“Daily newspapers are under a great deal of pressure, particularly those in the business segment,” Gruner + Jahr President Julia Jaekel said. “Financial Times Deutschland has not been profitable since it was established in 2000. As a result, we see no viable way of continuing its publication.”

The Financial Times Deutschland was the first new national daily in Germany in 50 years and had a circulation of about 50,000 when it was started. Pearson sold its 50 percent stake in the newspaper to Gruner + Jahr in 2008.

Gruner + Jahr is also in talks about a disposal of investment magazine Boerse Online and monthly publication Impulse or a sale to the titles’ management. The publications will be closed if no solution can be found, Gruner + Jahr said. The company will continue business magazines Capital and Business Punk.

Gruner + Jahr had integrated Financial Times Deutschland into a business news unit with Capital, Impulse and Boerse Online to slash costs. The closure will affect more than 300 employees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Frankfurt at crahn2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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