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Music House BMG Mulls Job Cuts

Job cuts are under consideration at Bertelsmann’s troubled music division as the company scrambles to slash costs and restore profitability, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Regine Hofmann said cuts at Bertelsmann Music Group were being discussed but added that the company had not yet finalized its restructuring plan.

“We are in the middle of restructuring, but everything is being reviewed for ways to cut costs,” Hofmann said, adding that plans should be finalized sometime this summer.

The comments come a day after BMG chairman Rolf Schmidt-Holtz told reporters in Madrid that “there are no holy cows” in his company’s turnaround plan.

Hofmann declined to comment on a report in Tuesday’s Financial Times that said BMG was trying to save $100 million through the current shake-up. Citing unnamed company sources, the report also said BMG was planning job cuts.

Earlier this year, Schmidt-Holtz said BMG wouldn’t make a profit or see any sales growth this year, blaming the slide on the stagnating market for music worldwide.

But he insisted Monday that, after the restructuring, “in 2002, our performance will break all BMG’s previous records.”

BMG’s restructuring campaign follows the collapse of merger talks between BMG and British rival EMI Group. EMI broke off negotiations citing insurmountable regulatory hurdles thrown in the way by European and U.S. antitrust authorities.

The collapse led to speculation that Bertelsmann might try to sell BMG, a claim that Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Middelhoff denied.

BMG’s top names include Whitney Houston, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.

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