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Bertelsmann really, really doesn’t want to go public

That’s the only conclusion to draw from the latest news that the giant media conglomerate (which owns Random House) said it wants to buy out the 25% shareholding stake held by GBL, which announced earlier this year that it wants to sell off its holding and take it public.

According to the Wall Street Journal, observers say the Mohn family, which controls 75% of Bertelsmann, is loath to see the company go public, though it’s not known how much the Mohns are willing to pay to keep that from happening. The family values GBL’s stake at between 3 billion euros and 4 billion euros (between $3.8 billion and $5.1 billion), but Albert Frere, the head of GBL, wants to raise 5 billion euros or more from the sale, a person close to the family said.

The Mohn family also isn’t eager to leverage the company too much because it wants to maintain its investment-grade credit rating, the source added. Previous disagreements evidently led to the departure of former Bertelsmann president Thomas Middelhoff in 2002.

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