Social Democrats to Buy Stake in Struggling Paper | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 12.03.2004
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Social Democrats to Buy Stake in Struggling Paper

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) is to buy a stake in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper , to save it from insolvency. It's the first time in German post-war history that the SPD has bought into a national newspaper. The deal is contingent on the publishers of the Rundschau. The paper has been facing severe financial problems, and has instituted "decisive measures" to cut costs. The measures are likely to include additional layoffs to the 1,650 jobs already shed. The SPD -- which said it only wants a minority stake in the paper -- would ensure the paper's editorial independence, even if it ended up holding a majority stake. The SPD's media unit owns more than a dozen publishing houses. Criticism of the deal has come from the opposition Free Democrat Party (FDP), who say the SPD is following in the footsteps of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has extensive holdings in Italian media outlets.