What is independence (again)? • 20 March 2008 • The SnowBlog

What is independence (again)?

This story in The Times caught my eye, because it's about Bertelsmann, the ten billion dollar media company that owns Random House amongst others and publishes Dan Brown. Turns out they're not doing too well, but that's an aside. It doesn't matter that they're only generating a 0.4% pa growth rate, because they're not listed on any stock market. They're an independent, privately owned company, run by the Mohn family. Their share price isn't going to crash as a result, thus devaluing the company (although they do have a hefty $6bn of debt, which is rather eye watering.) So why isn't Random House a member of the IPG? Really, sometimes I think that the 'independent' tag is a misnomer. Other companies who do term themselves 'independent' have little in common with what I think of as indie publishers - Faber, for instance. And indeed, some companies who I think of as independent aren't, actually, since they're floated on one or another stock market. 'Small' is a much more useful term. I think I'll use that in future. Not that any of this matters, of course. Just interesting.


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