Axel Springer

No Spring in its Step

Blick ueber Zeitungsviertel auf Zentrale,Gebaeude des  AS Axel Springer Verlag,auch Sitz der Ullstein GmbH, MoPo Berliner Morgenpost,Hoer Zu, Welt, BZ, Bildzeitung, Springerpresse, Imperium, Herrschaft, Druck,Print,Printmedien,Zeitung,Illustrierte, Hochhaus.Berlin Kreuzberg.13.Oktober 2003
Axel Springer wants more online customers for its papers.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The merger of Springer and ProSiebenSat.1 would have created Germany’s second-largest media empire. But the partnership they are now coinsidering instead could have equal clout.

  • Facts


    • Springer was outbid for the Financial Times by the Japanese Nikkei media group.
    • It has now failed twice in its attempt to merge with ProsiebenSat.1.
    • The TV network is valued at more than €10 billion ($10.9 billion), Springer less than half that amount.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

When it was all over, and the initial shock of rejection had subsided, the executives at German media giant Axel Springer practically congratulated each other. Oh well, their attempted takeover of the British newspaper The Financial Times just didn’t work, they said nonchalantly.

Was it just a brave face to cover up a bitter defeat? One thing is clear: The attempted coup, which was prepared in secret for almost a year but fell apart spectacularly within a few hours last week, would have been a public relations success. It would also have brought in 500 additional journalists and provided Springer with the largescale access to the English-speaking market that it had long desired.

But the €1.2 billion ($1.31 billion) offered by Japan’s Nikkei media group was €150 million more than chief executive Mathias Döpfner was prepared to pay the FT’s owners, whose biggest shareholder was the London publishing house Pearson. Ironically, when the failed takeover bid was announced, Springer’s share price went up.

In the wake of the failed deal, Germany’s only publicly traded newspaper group is now lowering its sights. Instead of pursuing merger plans with another German media group, the TV network ProSiebenSat.1, the two are instead launching a “Project to Promote Digital Startups.”

Joint investments in companies and funds are planned as part of an effort to promote Internet business ideas and young companies, which the two partners hope will eventually make money. The two companies also intend to merge their respective startup-incubator subsidiaries.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.