Gruner + Jahr shuts down Financial Times Deutschland

FRANKFURT Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:24pm GMT

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German business newspaper Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) will close after piling up millions of euros in losses during its 12 years of operation, publisher Gruner + Jahr said.

The paper, published in the salmon pink colour of its British namesake, is pulling the plug after accumulating what German media said were 250 million euros ($322.1 million) in losses since 2000.

The FTD, which has faced tough competition from a plethora of established national newspapers since its launch in 2000, has a circulation of about 100,000 but never made a profit.

Some 330 employees will lose their jobs, sources familiar with the publisher's decisions said.

The FTD was seen as a breath of fresh air in Germany with a modern design, international perspective and audacious journalism style.

It was alone, for instance, in criticising a long-standing German practice of allowing interviewees to "authorise" - or check - interview transcripts.

Industry analysts have been predicting the FTD's demise for years due to its lack of profitability. Losses in the last year were some 10 million euros, German media reports said.

"This is not a good day for financial journalism in Germany," said one journalist at the newspaper, which will publish its final edition on December 7.

Germany is home to Europe's largest print media market and has proven relatively resilient to the technological, cultural and demographic forces that have shuttered newspapers in many other developed countries, but that is now changing.

The loyalty of German readers - who previously stuck to their favourite daily newspaper - has eroded in recent years as consumers get more of their news online.

Last week, the respected Frankfurter Rundschau filed for bankruptcy. The DAPD news agency, which had relied heavily on a newspaper client base, took a similar step a few weeks earlier.

Europe's largest economy is slowing as the three-year-old debt crisis ravaging much of the euro zone takes its toll, compounding the hit to advertising revenues and limiting the willingness of consumers to pay for newspapers they can read mostly for free online.

Advertising income for German newspapers is on the slide, falling 6 percent in the first 10 months of this year from 2011, data from Nielsen Media research showed.

G+J, controlled by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann BERT.UL, launched the FTD 12 years ago as a joint venture with Pearson (PSON.L), but the publisher of the Financial Times sold its 50 percent stake to its German partner in 2008.

(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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