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reportedly agreed to take over operation of Bertelsmann's online music store, CDNow, in a profit-sharing arrangement.

The deal is the latest in a series of moves by Bertelsmann to curtail its online ambition, which once included taking on Amazon itself in the Internet retail space. Under new CEO Gunter Thielen, the company sold online booksellers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria to a German rival last month. Its BeMusic unit, which includes CDNow, also plans to close digital-music purveyor "myplay" in December, and the company recently decided against buying peer-to-peer music service Napster.

CDNow, which Bertelsmann bought for $117 million in 2000, is the most-visited CD store on the Internet. Amazon reportedly will operate the Web site, provide customer service and handle deliveries in return for a share of the profits.

Amazon has similar outsourcing deals with


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