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Business

Publisher's Confidant to Buy Paper Amid Row

The war over two of Berlin's dailies may have come to an end. The publishing house Holtzbrinck has said it will sell the Tagesspiegel paper to its former leading manager Pierre Gerckens. Gerckens, until now a member of the publisher's supervisory board, made a bid for the newspaper after it became clear that Holtzbrinck would have difficulties getting special dispensation from the economics ministry to allow it to merge the Tagesspiegel with the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, which it has sought to buy. Germany's competition regulator had come out in early September against Holtzbrinck buying the Berliner Verlag, the group of newspaper's that includes the Berliner Zeitung, arguing that the publisher would then have an unfair advantage in the Berlin newspaper market and hurt competition among regional newspapers. Holtzbrinck has said it will now apply for permission from the competition regulator to buy the Berlin newspaper group. The Bauer-Verlag publishing house had previously bid €20 million -- more than the undisclosed sum Gerckens will pay -- for the financially-ailing Tagesspiegel. "We cannot get rid of the impression that the ministry and the bidder have been led around by the nose," Bauer responded to the sale.