Can Bertelsmann Take Wing?

It's off to a slow start in becoming an e-commerce giant

Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff spends so much time yakking about the Internet that you might mistake him for Al Gore. But then, it takes a lot of talking to convince people you can turn a former publisher of religious pamphlets into the biggest e-commerce media company in the world. Middelhoff's ambition: to leverage Bertelsmann's vast store of books, magazines, music, and TV programming into big Net dollars through ventures such as bol.com, an online bookstore. The plan is working, insists the 46-year-old CEO. Already, Bertelsmann claims more online turnover than Yahoo! Inc.

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