In 2005 the publisher wanted to buy a controlling interest in the private broadcaster, one of Germany’s two major commercial TV groups. However, the German monopoly commission (Bundeskartellamt) halted the acquisition on the grounds that such a take-over would yield too much power to Springer.
Following the rejection, the publisher began legal proceedings and in 2008, a Dusseldorf court said that the country’s two major private broadcasters, ProSiebenSat.1 and Bertelsmann’s RTL Group already had a dominant position in the market for television advertising, so even a small addition might hinder competition.
“The analysis of the Dusseldorf court that the planned takeover would have boosted the dominant market position” of these companies “in the television advertising market stood the test of legal scrutiny,” the Karlsruhe Court said in a statement. Springer Verlag had planned a new bid for the broadcasting group, should the higher Court have rejected the lower Court’s judgement.
ProSiebenSat.1 owns and operates the major free-to-air advertising supported channels ProSieben, Sat.1, Kabel 1 and N24; the group is now majority owned by investment firms KKR and Permira. Axel Springer Verlag is the country’s largest newspaper and magazine publisher with titles including the tabloid Bild, the up-market newspaper Die Welt and the weekly TV Guide Hoer Zu.