Thomas Rabe, CFO Bertelsmann, gave his reaction during a press conference in Berlin to a question by Billboard.biz on whether reports were correct that Bertelsmann is interested in a purchasing of parts of EMI via its BMG Rights Management operation.

Rabe said that if and when EMI was up for sale then BMG Rights Management - a joint venture with private equity firm KKR - would look at it.

"I have no knowledge that EMI is on the market today," he told Billboard.biz. "So these are rumors or speculation on which I do not want to comment."

BMG Rights Management, which launched almost 18 months ago, has been linked with a plan to acquire the music publishing assets of EMI. There are also rumors that it will buy the US-publisher Cherry Lane.

"The strategy of BMG Rights Management is based on organic growth as well as on acquisition growth," said Rabe. "Since the start, we have done over 100 signings and acquisitions and are on a good path. We have also bought middle-sized publishing companies. There will be more."

After a cost and efficiency program was implemented across the group in the first half year, Bertelsmann reported consolidated revenues of €15.4 billion ($20.8 million) in 2009, down 5.4% on the previous year. Adjusted for portfolio and exchange rate effects, revenues fell by 5.8%.

Profits before interest, tax and special items (operating EBIT) were €1.42 billion ($1.9 billion), down 9.6% in the previous year. The operating return on sales was 9.3% (previous year: 9.7%).

In 2009, the German media company recorded impairment losses in the TV businesses in the U.K. and Greece, among other areas. As part of the cost and efficiency program, businesses were restructured in all corporate divisions. The company said special items totaled €730 million ($986 million).

Bertelsmann achieved a net income of €35 million ($47.3 million) in 2009, down from €270 million ($364.7 million) in 2008.

Net losses after pay-outs to minority shareholders in its joint ventures were €82 million ($110.8 million)

"Where the main priority in 2009 was cost and cash management, we will concentrate in this year on steering a course for growth," said CEO of Bertelsmann, Hartmut Ostrowski. "The emphasis here will be on continuing to develop the wide range of digital activities in all divisions and to gain market share."

In the past fiscal year, the TV, radio and television production group RTL Group continued to be profitable, although revenues and profits were below the previous year's level due to double-digit declines in the TV advertising markets in Europe

Ostrowski added: "Bertelsmann's planning for fiscal year 2010 is characterized by lingering uncertainties in the markets. At this time, economic conditions are expected to begin stabilizing in 2010, although no sustainable recovery is foreseeable as yet."

As a result, the company statement said revenue should remain stable in 2010 while group profits are expected to rise.

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