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Axel Springer Group confirms talks with US investor KKR on participation


American financial investor KKR is negotiating a billion-dollar start with Axel Springer. The goal could obviously be the withdrawal of the Berlin media group from the stock exchange.

The Axel Springer Group confirmed discussions with the US investor KKR on Wednesday evening about a strategic investment. Previously, the news agency Bloomberg had reported on it: According to the current state of negotiations KKR wants all shareholders with the exception of Friede Springer and Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner buy their shares. KKR is considering removing the company from the stock market, according to the Bloomberg report.

Whether it comes to the described steps and "subsequent corporate structural measures" is from the point of view of the Executive Board but currently still open, it says in the announcement of the Group. "In particular, the legal, fiscal and financial feasibility is still to be examined in detail."

Axel Springer is worth about 4.9 billion euros on the stock exchange. The widow of publisher Axel Springer and her longstanding confidant Döpfner together hold 45.4 percent of the group and want to retain their shares. The remaining shares that could go to KKR are worth 2.66 billion euros on the stock exchange.

The family of Axel Springer holds a majority in the listed group. What Springer grandchildren Axel Sven and Ariane Melanie with their share packages of 9.8 percent together, the company said.


Publisher Friede Springer at an awards ceremony in Berlin

Investors had responded euphorically to the Bloomberg report: The share price of Springer had spiked in late trading on the trading platform Tradegate by just under 16 percent at the closing price in Xetra trading. The announcement of the company then no longer caused a noticeable movement of the course.

While Bloomberg had reported on negotiations with all of the family's shareholders, only the name Friede Springer appeared in the company announcement. A company spokeswoman confirmed on request that the negotiations would be conducted without the other family members.

Springer tries to compensate for the weakening development in print media with online news offers. The sector with products such as Business Insider and the job portal Stepstone already generated 71 percent of sales last year.

KKR already has experience in the German media sector. From 2006 to 2013, the investment company was involved in the television station chain ProSiebenSat.1 and rose again with a profit. Together with media manager Fred Kogel, KKR has also been building an independent television and film production and distribution company in Germany around Tele München since the beginning of the year.

Source: spiegel

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