Bertelsmann's Bold Buyout Plan
When he takes over German media giant Bertelsmann at the end of 2007, Chief Executive Officer-designate Hartmut Ostrowski will inherit a solidly profitable company with one big liability. After buying back a 25% stake in itself from Brussels-based Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) last year, Bertelsmann's debt soared more than 40% at the end of 2006, to $8.8 billion. The debt means that Gütersloh-based Bertelsmann, with sales in 2006 of $25 billion, will have to strain to make big acquisitions to remain within the ranks of the world's top media groups.
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