Axel Springer, Europe's largest newspaper group, looks set to fail in its bid to acquire Germany's leading pay-TV operator ProSiebenSat1.

The Hamburg and Munich-headquartered publisher agreed a number of concessions demanded by the nation's anti-cartel office - among them the sale of five TV magazines, with ten million readers - but baulked at selling its flagship daily tabloid Bild. Springer was similarly unwilling to settle for acquisition of only four of ProSieben's five TV channels.

The anti-cartel office is in equally obdurate mode. It is not prepared to greenlight "a strengthening of the duopoly on the television market between ProSiebenSat1 on the one hand and the channels of the Bertelsmann/RTL group on the other," stated the watchdog.

"Given the current state of the [bid]dossier, there is no possibility but to reject this plan," the regulator told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Saturday.

But the deal is not yet dead. The regulator has given Springer until January 12 to present new proposals before making a final ruling on January 20.

Data sourced from DW-World (Germany); additional content by WARC staff