BERLIN: Europe's biggest newspaper and magazine publisher Axel Springer has amassed a warchest of up to €2 billion ($2.66bn; £1.35b) to be used for international and digital expansion.

The German-headquartered business, which publishes the country's leading title Bild and Die Welt, has, according to ceo Mathias Döpfner (pictured above), three growth routes open to it: organic launches, smaller acquisitions or "a big transforming transaction".

He told the Financial Times: "It goes without saying that whenever a large international media company comes on to the market, we will examine it very closely - whether in print, TV or the online sector."

Axel Springer's attempts to acquire German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 failed to gain regulatory approval last year [WARC News: 02-Feb-06]. The company was eventually snapped up by a US/European alliance of private equity firms [WARC News: 18-Dec-06].

Döpfner says Springer is in negotiations with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Permira over its remaining 12% stake in the broadcaster.

Expectations are high that the new owners will want to buy up the outstanding shareholding, thereby adding to Springer's financial clout.

Döpfner adds: "Our attempt to take over ProSiebenSat.1 showed we would go further for a unique opportunity."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff