Planet Media... This week's media news at a glance

Johnston Press has begun the search for a new chief executive following Tim Bowdler’s decision to retire in May 2009. A headhunter is expected to be selected in the New Year to lead the search. Finance director Stuart Paterson is thought to be in the running. The Sunday Telegraph, 9 December

News Corp has acquired another online property, this time buying Beliefnet, a US website devoted to spirituality and religion. The deal was concluded by its Fox Entertainment Group.
Financial Times, 5 December


Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, issued a public apology to the social networking site’s users and promised that they could switch off a controversial advertising feature that tracked their movements on the internet.
The Independent, 6 December

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, is trying to buy cable group Virgin Media’s share of UKTV, the TV channel business that the two organisations jointly own. BBC Worldwide recent made a preliminary approach to Virgin, although formal talks have yet to begin. Virgin Media’s stake in the venture is valued at £370m.
The Sunday Telegraph, 9 December


ESPN, the Disney-owned pay-TV sports broadcaster, has set out its interest in acquiring English Premier League TV rights when they are auctioned in 2009. A bid  could pit ESPN against BSkyB and Setanta, the current rights holders.
Financial Times, 10 December


Bertelsmann is considering the sale of its book, DVD and music clubs outside Germany. Incoming chief executive Hartmut Ostrowski is expected to announce plans this week to buy the 10% of stock in Five owner RTL Group that RTL does not already own.
Financial Times, 10 December

Emap has disappointed investors by failing to agree a deal to sell its business-to-business titles division. The media group is understood to have been unhappy with the value of bids for its B2B publishing division, which was expected to be snapped up by Apax, the private equity group, or the Guardian Media Group.
The Independent, 8 December

Virgin Radio’s executive chairman, Richard Huntingford, is rumoured to be preparing to sue his former employer, Chrysalis, for £2m over what he claims is an unpaid bonus.
The Daily Telegraph, 6 December


Emap shareholders may try to prevent the sale of its radio and consumer magazine assets to German media group H. Bauer after the auction fell short of expectations. A number are considering voting against the £1.14bn disposal at a meeting in January.
The Sunday Times, 9 December

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