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Bertelsmann goes Net crazy

Content deals and staff get PCs for £1

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Bertelsmann, which describes itself as "the most international media company", has gone mad for the Internet (probably because it has a big stake in every other kind of media). Not only has it started up a new venture with iSyndicate to get in the content provision market but it is also offering employees dirt cheap PCs/laptops just so they can "enjoy the Internet experience".

The joint venture with iSyndicate will be just that: 50:50. It'll be called "iSyndicate Europe", headquartered in Hamburg (with London acting as second-in-command) and make use of both companies content deals. Bertelsmann, gets to wear the trousers though and decides who to appoint as CEO. It will also take a four per cent stake in iSyndicate.

As for employees of Bertelsmann, well, their Christmas has come early. The company is offering all 70,000 of them a chance to buy a PC with printer or a laptop for the grand sum of £1. And they get to take it with them if they leave the company. Cough up £240 and they get a higher spec machine.

Why is it doing this? Because it wants you as an employee to "immerse yourself in the world of the Internet!" The fact that it could all be written off against profits is also an advantage. Bertelsmann has its finger in just every media pie from publishing and music companies, to book and music clubs, to magazines and newspapers, to television and radio stations etc etc - it is the largest media company in Europe. Want brand names? Random House, BMG, RTL, Bol.com, cdnow, barnesandnoble.com. ®

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