Friede Springer, Mathias Döpfner: Crown Prince with experience in the group
Photo: Britta Pedersen / dpa
The major shareholder of Axel Springer SE, Friede Springer, is donating a large part of its shares in the media group ("Bild", "Welt") to CEO Mathias Döpfner and also transfers the voting rights to the remaining block of shares to him.
He buys around 4.1 percent of the 78-year-old's shares, and the 57-year-old will also receive around 15 percent as a gift - in future both will control around 22 percent each, as the company announced in Berlin on Thursday.
Döpfner has been at the helm of the group since 2002, so far he has held just under 3 percent of the shares.
At the same time, Friede Springer provides the non-profit Friede Springer Foundation with further substantial assets.
As one of the largest media groups in Europe, Springer has invested heavily in digital technology in the past.
Last year, the Berlin-based group and more than 16,000 employees entered into a strategic partnership with the US financial investor Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) with the aim of growing faster in the digital world.
KKR is a major shareholder, but does not hold the majority.
The group aims to become the global market leader in digital journalism and digital classifieds such as job or real estate portals.
Springer also withdrew from the stock exchange this year after 35 years.
The Group's turnover in 2019 was 3.11 billion euros and the adjusted net income was 263.7 million euros.
Friede Springer emphasized in the communication: "I have always said that I will ensure continuity in the company. The future of the company has been very important to me for my entire life."
She has found an ideal solution to secure the future of Axel Springer and that of its foundations and to separate the two spheres as before.
"I am very happy and grateful that I have found my successor in Mathias."
Icon: The mirror
mik / dpa