Germany Seeks To Protect Press From Outsiders

28 May 2004

Germany's economics minister has expressed concern that the regional nature of the country's newspaper industry makes it vulnerable to foreign takeovers.

Wolfgang Clement has suggested newspaper publishers should consolidate as a possible remedy.

"Until now it has always been easy for foreign companies to come in. They can appear on the German market at any time. It is one of our problems," said Clement.

The minister was speaking as plans for new anti-trust legislation were unveiled to update regulations dating from the 1970s.

The proposals aim to raise the revenue threshold required before sparking government intervention in any newspaper takeover.

Simultaneously they would ease the path for publishers to conclude advertising partnerships.

Germany's regulation of foreign media ownership is more relaxed than some countries such as the United States.

The minister's comments come against a background of increasing concern in Germany about foreign takeovers.

Three weeks ago Chancellor Gerhard Schroder advised German banks to merge to counter the prospect of hostile foreign takeover bids.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff