Germany's Federal Cartel Office ruled late Monday that the publication of the German edition of National Geographic magazine by Grüner + Jahr publishing house was illegal. G+J is also the publisher of GEO, a popular science and natural history magazine that is very similar to National Geographic. Though G+J has been publishing the 273,597 circulation title since 1999, it first came to the attention of the Cartel Office a year ago when G+J submitted a proposal for a 100 percent takeover of the joint German-Spanish venture that published National Geographic. In its ruling, the Cartel Office said that G+J's license for National Geographic in Germany, along with GEO and P.M. magazine gave it control of 75 percent of the market in Germany for consumer science magazines -- a near-monopoly position. The company said it would appeal the decision.