Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #194 Update on German Corporate Control of American Publishing and Music

Lis­ten: One seg­ment

Begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of Ber­tels­mann A.G. (the cen­tral com­pa­ny in the Ger­man con­trol over Amer­i­can pub­lish­ing), the broad­cast high­lights the role of Ber­tels­mann king­pin Hein­rich Mohn’s asso­ci­a­tion with the Himm­lerkreis, the indus­tri­al­ists who fund­ed Hitler’s noto­ri­ous SS.

Much of the pro­gram deals with the rela­tion­ship between the Ber­tels­mann firm and AOL. Fol­low­ing AOL’s acqui­si­tion of Time Warn­er, Ber­tels­mann CEO Thomas Mid­del­hoff resigned as a mem­ber of AOL’s board of direc­tors. Ber­tels­mann will con­tin­ue its joint oper­a­tion of AOL Europe, while sell­ing its remain­ing direct cap­i­tal par­tic­i­pa­tion in AOL. AOL’s growth was great­ly aid­ed by time­ly invest­ments by Ber­tels­mann (at Mid­del­hof­f’s direc­tion), which at one point owned 5% of AOL. Although Mid­del­hoff saw Ber­tels­mann as a more appro­pri­ate part­ner for AOL, the Ber­tels­mann foun­da­tion (which con­trols the 164-year-old com­pa­ny) reject­ed that pos­si­bil­i­ty. Valu­ing the com­pa­ny’s inde­pen­dence, the foun­da­tion may very well have reject­ed the deal because the Bor­mann group (which under­lies Ber­tels­mann and the oth­er major Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions) wished to have its media influ­ence undi­lut­ed by Amer­i­can influ­ence.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Deutsche Bank’s sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal par­tic­i­pa­tion in AOL; for­mer Gen­er­als Alexan­der Haig and Col­in Pow­ell’s seats on AOL’s board of direc­tors; changes in the cap­i­tal invest­ment pol­i­cy of Ber­tels­mann, intend­ed to facil­i­tate more cor­po­rate acqui­si­tions; Mid­del­hof­f’s stat­ed inten­tion to become num­ber one in the U.S. music busi­ness; dis­cus­sion of recent Ber­tels­mann cor­po­rate alliances; Mid­del­hof­f’s pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with for­mer Pres­i­dent (and CIA direc­tor) George Bush; Ber­tels­man­n’s nego­ti­a­tions with Sony music, direct­ed at ful­fill­ing Mid­del­hof­f’s desire to dom­i­nate the music busi­ness. (Record­ed on 2/13/2000.)

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