March 30, 2009

Bertelsmann downgraded by Moody’s

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Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded its ratings outlook on German media giant Bertelsmann AG, the parent company of the world’s largest publisher, Random House. As a Wall Street Journal report by Mike Barris details, ” Moody’s outlook change comes two days after Bertelsmann said net profit dropped 34% in 2008, hit by write-downs and restructuring charges.”

Despite the company’s efforts at trimming debt — visible to all in the New York publishing community, in addition too dumping its 50% stake in the Sony BMG Music Entertainment — Moody’s says it could be in for an even rockier road this year than last, although it did say Bertelsmann has “adequate” liquidity for now. The company is being particularly battered by “the advertising-market slump and waning consumer spending.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives

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