Bertelsmann buys rest of Bookspan from Time Inc

LONDON (Reuters) - German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG BERT.UL said on Tuesday it had bought Time Inc.'s 50-percent interest in Bookspan, their book-club joint venture that includes Book-of-the-Month Club.

Bertelsmann plans to consolidate its North American book, music and DVD clubs following the transaction, which it said would make it the biggest marketer of media goods direct to consumers in the United States.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Bertelsmann’s DirectGroup -- which runs the group’s book, music and DVD clubs -- would pay about $150 million, citing people familiar with the matter.

Bookspan will be integrated into BMG Columbia House, a unit of DirectGroup that markets music and DVDs direct to North American consumers, and will be run by BMG Columbia House Chief Executive Stuart Goldfarb.

“Reaching consumers directly is recognised as essential to success in today’s changing marketplace,” Goldfarb said.

“Our long history of direct-to-consumer expertise together with this investment will enable us to offer millions of members an even wider range of products,” he added in a statement.

A company memo seen earlier by Reuters and written by Bookspan CEO Markus Wilhelm said Wilhelm was resigning to cut down on travel and spend time with his family.

Time Inc. is a unit of Time Warner Inc. TWX.N

Additional reporting by Mark Porter in New York