CEO Tapped To Head New CDNow, Columbia House Venture

Executives at Sony Corporation of America and Time Warner announced Wednesday that 42 year-old Scott Flanders has been chosen to lead the new publicly-traded company that will emerge from the merger of CDNow (Nasdaq: CDNW) and music marketer Columbia House.

Flanders will become the CEO of the new company after U.S. and Canadian regulators and CDNow shareholders give their approval to the deal. Such approval is expected by year’s end.

Flanders, the former president of Macmillan Publishing USA and the short-term CEO of Telstreet.com, will serve as the Columbia House board representative prior to assuming his new position.

Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) will both own 37 percent stakes in the new company, with CDNow shareholders owning the remaining 26 percent share.

“Scott is a talented executive with the background and foresight necessary to successfully integrate Columbia House and CDNow’s core businesses to create an e-commerce engine that will drive the new company’s online sales,” said Mel Ilberman, Sony Music chief.

Battling Top of the Charts

Any new online music venture has its upward view obscured by the large shadow of Amazon.com, the frequently-criticized but longtime denizen of the top of the online charts.

Once it gains the expected regulatory and shareholder approval, the new venture will try to hit the ground running, utilizing the strengths of both companies to cut into Amazon’s market share.

CDNow has managed to attract 2.3 million customers since its inception, which was topped off in March with the merger of CDNow, Inc. and N2K, Inc. Columbia House distributed 200 million music and video products to its club members last year.

Flanders is expected to bring some savvy and experience to the mix. Macmillan House grew to be the world’s largest computer and reference publisher with him at the helm, and invested in Internet operations under his direction. Flanders is also a certified CPA and lawyer who was a tax and business consultant at Coopers & Lybrand.

Founded in a basement in 1994, CDNow is partnered with two of the world’s largest music companies and is traded by investors around the globe.

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