Springer withdraws bid to sell part of broadcaster
Germany's biggest newspaper and magazine group, Axel Springer AG, said Monday it had withdrawn an offer to sell off part of a TV broadcaster, ProSiebenSat.1, which it is seeking to buy in order to satisfy state monopoly officials.
16 January 2006
BERLIN - Germany's biggest newspaper and magazine group, Axel Springer AG, said Monday it had withdrawn an offer to sell off part of a TV broadcaster, ProSiebenSat.1, which it is seeking to buy in order to satisfy state monopoly officials.
Germany's Federal Cartel Office, which has warned that Springer could become too dominant through the takeover, had set as a condition that the company sell off one channel, ProSieben, while keeping the broadcaster's SAT.1 network.
But the Cartel Office wanted ProSieben to be sold before Springer took control of the company. Springer executives had insisted the sale take place only after they bought the entire ProSiebenSat.1 network.
Rejection of calls to give up ProSieben will lead the Cartel Office to block the takeover bid, said Springer executives, adding that they would then check all other legal means and options to acquire the company.
A controlling interest in stockmarket-listed ProSiebenSat.1 Media has been offered for sale by investors led by Haim Saban, the former Israeli concert agent whose savvy deals have made him a billionaire.
The ProSiebenSat.1 TV group and its rival RTL are Germany's two main commercial broadcasters.
ProSieben, which is aimed at under-50 viewers, had an average audience of 6.7 per cent in Germany last year, below the 10.9 per cent of SAT.1 which is aimed at a middle-brows of all ages.
Management at ProSiebenSat.1 Media had expressed alarm at a break- up. The two channels had merged in 2000.