Axel Springer in Back Door Bid for ProSiebenSat.1

22 November 2006

BERLIN: Axel Springer, Europe's largest newspaper publisher, has been consistently thwarted by German regulators in its attempts to break into bigtime TV in its homeland. But as Springer knows full well, there are more ways than one of skinning a cat.

One such way is to buy a stake in a company already poised to make a bid - in this case Turkish media group Dogan Yayin - for the succulent plum of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, which owns the ProSieben, Sat.1, N24 and Kabel 1 channels.

Springer's solo attempt to acquire ProSieben earlier this year failed to clear the regulatory hurdle following a decisive "nein" from competition regulators. [WARC News: 02-Feb-06].

It is likely, therefore, that a mere freak of fortuity prompted Springer to choose this particular moment to buy a 25% stake in the Turkish company.

Indeed, the latter insists this to be the case: "The sale of 25% of Dogan TV and the statement [to bid] that we have made today are a complete coincidence. We will enter the tender alone," says a Dogan Yayin spokesman.

While Axel Springer, which still holds 12% of ProSieben, uplifts its hands in injured innocence: "We have invested in Dogan without any relationship to our ProSiebenSat.1 stake," claims Springer cfo Steffen Naumann.

"It is a coincidence. We are convinced there will be attractive growth in the Turkish TV market," he continued guilessly.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff