The European Commission said Thursday it planned to investigate plans by Germany's Bertelsmann and Springer media groups to merge their printing operations. Gruner und Jahr and Arvato, both units of Bertelsmann, and the newspaper publisher Axel Springer said in September they would merge their gravure or intaglio printing operations to create a new European giant in the sector. The EU executive said its initial examination of the deal showed it "might significantly impede effective competition, in particular on the German market for high-volume printing of magazines". The merged entity would have a combined market share of more than 40 percent in Germany, "far ahead of its competitors," the commission said. Brussels also said it had rejected a request by German competition authorities to investigate the deal themselves, arguing it would have "a considerable cross-border impact" in Europe.