ProSiebenSat-Axel Springer Merger Talks End Without Deal

The proposed mega merger between German TV giant ProsiebenSat and leading print group Axel Springer is off after talks between the two companies broke down. It is believed that concerns over anti-competition regulations were a factor. The deal, which would have been worth up to $16 billion, would have seen a daunting multi-media titan emerge. Worth over $10 billion, ProSiebenSat has a 28.9% share of Germany’s free-TV market. Axel Springer, worth more than $5 billion, owns the country’s bestselling daily Bild. Last year, Springer acquired news channel N24 from ProSieben. Springer is moving away from traditional print products to invest heavily in digital media; it made 63% of its revenues and 73% of its core profit from digital products.

A previous merger attempt 10 years ago between the two companies initiated by Axel Springer was blocked after protests from Germany’s media watchdog KEK and the country’s anti-trust body.

There also believed to have been disagreement on who would run the new company. Although ProSiebenSat would have naturally wanted to be seen as the senior partner, Friede Springer, the widow of company founder Axel Springer, was known to be reluctant to relinquish control of her company.

Springer also recently missed out on a deal last week to acquire the Financial Times group from Pearson, with Japanese digital media company Nikkei instead sealing the $1.3 billion deal.

ProSiebenSat and Springer will now instead work together on investing jointly in digital start-ups. Despite the lack of a deal with Springer, ProsiebenSat still reported strong earnings Thursday with revenue up 11.8 % to $846 million and underlying net income increasing 9.3% to $129 million.

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