Sony BMG looking to exit Sony joint venture

Dissolution of merger rumored for months

LONDON -- The fate of the Sony BMG joint venture is on the cards, again. According to a report published Monday in the New York Times, German media group Bertelsmann is planning to intensify talks on pulling out of its recorded music joint venture with Japan's Sony Corp.

The report said Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski declined comment on the future of the merger while boasting that the Guetersloh-based firm would remain an international media specialist.

Talk of a dissolution of the merger, which was struck in 2004, has rumbled on over the past few months.

Ostrowski recently upped the ante, when he said in March, "We might take over 100%, or sell our 50% to Sony so that they have 100% or we might continue the joint venture," he said. "All three outcomes are possible."

Earlier that month, Bertelsmann's CFO Thomas Rabe reportedly met with at least two private equity companies to discuss the possible sale of its 50% share.