Bertelsmann's Direct Group bought by Najafi

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Najafi Companies, a private investment firm, has agreed to acquire Bertelsmann AG's Direct Group North America, one of the largest direct marketers of books, DVDs and recorded music. Direct Group includes such brands as Columbia House and the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Financial terms were not dis­closed. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Bertelsmann, a German media conglomerate, had announced in March that it was seeking to sell its North American direct busi­ness. It also announced plans to shut down its BMG Music Service continuity club by 2010.

Representatives from Najafi couldn't be reached for com­ment by press time. However, in a statement, CEO Jahm Najafi said, “We are very excited to enter the direct-to-consumer business and to work closely with Direct Group North America's manage­ment team.”

Bertelsmann declined to com­ment, but referred press to a letter to employees, which said, “We are proud of the brands this company has built and of the employees who have worked hard to make them successful


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