The European Union's executive commission said Tuesday it had cleared a proposed specialized joint printing venture between German companies Bertelsmann and Axel
Springer after a detailed investigation of the deal. "The commission's in-depth investigation has shown that the concentration will not significantly impede competition in the single market or any member state," the commission said in a statement. The commission decided not to impose conditions on the companies after concluding that the market for magazine printing was European, not German. The commission had been concerned that the combined activities would give the companies an unfair advantage in the German market for so-called "rotagravure" printing. They will have a combined market share of 21 percent. The joint-venture will combine five printing sites in Germany and one in Britain. Bertelsmann meanwhile said Tuesday that business continued to develop positively in the first three months of the current year and it was continuing to pencil in higher sales and earnings for the full year. The company booked net profit of 33 million euros ($42 million) in the period from January to March, up from 31 million euros year earlier.