Germany's anti-cartel office has rejected an offer by newspaper publisher Axel Springer to buy commercial television group ProSiebenSat1 despite proposed concessions.
Springer's takeover plans for ProSieben could be thrown out with the trash
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Saturday, after the Springer group refused to sell its flagship Bild tabloid or to give up on buying one of ProSiebenSat1's five TV channels, the office said that "given the current state of the dossier, there is no possibility but to reject this plan," the daily said.
The competition watchdog said the Springer takeover would end up with "a strengthening of the duopoly on the television market between ProSiebenSAT1 on the one hand and the channels of the Bertelsmann/RTL group on the other," the paper said.
Springer given until Jan. 12 to come up with new plan
It added that the anti-cartel office gave Springer until January 12 to present new proposals before making a final ruling on Jan. 20.
The coming together of the media giants is looking less likely.
Springer had told the anti-cartel office that it could sell off five television magazines, with 12 million readers, to avoid any complications with ProSiebenSat1, the Munich Süddeutsche Zeitung said on Thursday. Springer boss Mathias Dopfner, in comments published Wednesday, notably proposed ceding its share in companies co-owned with its rival Bertelsmann.