Bertelsmann Attempting to Purchase 100% Interest in Napster 
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Tuesday, 16 April 2002

German media giant Bertelsmann partnered with Napster in October 2000 during the turbulent period when Napster was facing a legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). According to German newspaper Die Welt, Bertelsmann Chief Executive Officer Thomas Middelhoff recently confirmed his company's intentions of buying out Napster completely from original investors John Fanning, uncle of Napster founder Shawn Fanning, and venture capitalist Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.

"Our solution is to take over Napster completely. We want to buy out the original shareholders. We have made them an offer, because we believe that our strategy is the right one for the future of the company." said Middlehoff in his interview with Die Welt.

Bertelsmann has spent an estimated 85 million dollars so far in long-term loans to the to the now off-line music downloading service. Reports are that Bertlesmann is offering 30 million dollars to buy all of Napster and will then use the brand name Napster, the somewhat stale but loyal Napster user-base and the Napster servers to set up a paid online music subscription service using content provided by artists on Bertlesmann’s various record labels including Arista, RCA and BMG.

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