Germany's largest media conglomerate, privately held Bertelsmann Group, on Thursday posted a loss of 384 million euros ($387 million) for the third quarter on revenues of 4.16 billion euros. The company -- which owns some of the biggest names in media including BMG Music, magazine publisher Grüner and Jahr and Random House -- attributed the red ink to major accounting write-offs.
In the past two years, the company has profited from exceptional income such as the sale of AOL Europe. But these positive effects have already shown up on Bertelsmann's balance sheets. Now, the entertainment giant wants to avoid repeating earlier mistakes like the expensive, 3 billion euro acquisition of music company Zomba, whose roster of artists includes Britney Spears. Bertelsmann is turning to its core divisions, such as magazine and book publishing, music and the production of television shows, which helped the firm post third quarter operating profits of some 102 million euros.