German press group Axel Springer said on Monday that the Federal Cartel Office had blocked its bid to take over Germany's biggest commercial television group, ProSiebenSAT1.
Axel Springer Publishing in Berlin has suffered a defeat
Springer, which owns Germany's top-selling newspaper Bild, said it would now "check all the legal means and options at its disposal."
The decision to block the takeover had been widely expected after Springer withdrew its offer to sell the group's flagship ProSieben channel. The Federal Cartel Office had made the sale of the channel a prerequisite for the takeover bid to go ahead.
The possible options open to Springer are thought to be an appeal against the Federal Cartel Office, or special permission from the economy ministry for the takeover. Both would require months of legal wrangling before a decision is made.
The German government has approved takeovers against the advice of the Federal Cartel Office on just seven occasions since the mechanism was introduced in 1973.
Springer's ambitions to buy ProSiebenSAT1, Germany's biggest free-to-air broadcaster, were first blocked earlier this month by the media sector watchdog KEK, which ruled that Springer would gain too strong an influence over public opinion. ProSieben commands a market share of close to 12 percent in the key, advertising-rich sector of 14-49 year-olds.