Axel Springer withdraws compromise proposal to regulator in troubled TV takeover | VailDaily.com
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Axel Springer withdraws compromise proposal to regulator in troubled TV takeover

BERLIN – German publisher Axel Springer AG said Monday it was withdrawing an offer to sell one of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG’s television stations in its effort to gain regulatory approval to take over the broadcaster.Springer said it now expected the proposed deal to be rejected by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office and was awaiting a ruling before deciding how to proceed.The Cartel Office has expressed concern about the combined company holding a too-dominant market position.Springer, the publisher of Germany’s largest-circulation daily, Bild, had previously offered to sell the ProSieben television channel once it completed the proposed 3.5 billion euro ($4.2 billion) takeover.The Cartel Office, however, had argued that ProSieben should be sold before the acquisition went through.”We can’t sell something before it belongs to us,” Springer spokeswoman Edda Fels said.The regulator said in a statement that it accepted the withdrawal of Springer’s offer and granted the publisher until Jan. 27 to submit a new one.The takeover would put Bild under the same roof with the country’s biggest broadcaster and create a stronger rival to Bertelsmann AG’s broadcasting unit, RTL Group.The sale of ProSieben would leave Springer with a scaled-down ProSiebenSat.1 with the Sat1 and Kabel1 entertainment channels and the N24 news station.Analysts believe that if the overall Springer deal collapses, a foreign buyer could step in for ProSiebenSat.1.


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