FRANKFURT, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Europe’s largest media company Bertelsmann is in talks to take full control of German publisher Gruner + Jahr (G+J) as it seeks to step up cost-cuts at the business, a German magazine reported.
In its online edition on Thursday, monthly Manager Magazin cited company sources as saying Bertelsmann Chief Executive Thomas Rabe offered the Jahr family a stake in Bertelsmann in return for the family’s 25.1 percent in Gruner + Jahr.
A spokesman for Bertelsmann, which also owns broadcaster RTL , confirmed there were negotiations but declined to elaborate.
“Bertelsmann and the Jahr Holding in their capacity as Gruner + Jahr shareholders are currently in talks about the situation and future positioning of the publishing house,” he said.
According to the magazine, the Jahrs want a stake of at least 5 percent in Bertelsmann, which is owned by the Mohn family, and an agreement could be reached by end-October.
It also said that Bertelsmann - which wants to expand into digital media ventures abroad but is being held back by its weak equity capital position - is looking for co-investors for some of its divisions such as Random House.
Bertelsmann could try to attract Penguin Books, owned by Pearson, or Harper Collins as co-owners for the book publishing unit, the magazine said.
In March, Bertelsmann gave up its resistance to the idea of going public as part of broader plans to lure fresh investors prepared to fund growth while allowing the Mohn family to retain their grip over the group.