Burda Holding GmbH & Co., KG

True to form I get a lousy reception at Burda Holding, a media company with over $1.1 billion in revenues and over 4,000 employees. For some strange reason I generally receive poor receptions at media companies. Burda publishes 118 magazines including FOCUS (weekly readership of 5.7 million) and SUPER ILLU (circulation 580,000) plus has interests in television and radio stations.

Corporate offices are about five miles from downtown Munich in two buildings connected by an elevated covered walkway. One is 10-stories and the other eight-stories. The lobby area contains two giant 15 foot by 15 foot Andy Warhol paintings. One is titled "The Images of Munich City" and the other "Magazines & History". The receptionist doesn't know if they're originals.

I mailed the introductory letter to Hubert Burda, whose father founded the company in 1927. It seems no one is familiar with the letter. I'm referred to the company's spokesperson, a woman, who isn't here today and tomorrow starts a three week holiday. Yep, it turns out she's the sole person who could talk to me. So, for the next three weeks the company just zips up and mums the word because this "sole spokesperson" is on holiday. Hmm, I wonder if the writers in all those magazines the company publishes ever encounter this problem.

I thought it would be neat to take photos of the Andy Warhol paintings. My request is denied.