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Music stops for Bertelsmann-Sony joint venture

Bertelsmann, the Mohn family-owned international media company, has finally cut its ties with Sony BMG, the ill-fated joint venture signed with the Sony Corporation to create the world's second largest recording company.

Bertelsmann's sale of its 50% stake in Sony BMG back to Sony has now cleared all antitrust hurdles and the undisclosed purchase price has changed hands.

The divestiture signals Bertelsmann's withdrawal from the recorded music business and its move into music rights management under its BMG Rights Management subsidiary.

"This move is consistent with our new growth strategy and will enable us to focus on our defined growth areas, said Hartmut Ostrowski, the non-family chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann (pictured).

"Sony has been an excellent partner, and they are the right company to take this business to the next step and ensure that it realises its full value and potential.

At its launch in 2004 Sony BMG was billed as "a historic opportunity" and "a global creative powerhouse with an exciting future".

However, Sony BMG faced a series a setbacks including falling record sales, a European court annulment of the joint venture, and internal upheaval as the two companies failed to get a settled management team that represented both companies equally.

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