US-based private equity group KKR has announced an offer to buy the stakes in the German publisher Axel Springer from minority shareholders at €63 per share. The offer represents a 40 percent premium on the price of Axel Springer's shares as of May 29, when the news about the negotiations between the parties first broke. (Since then, the share price has risen to €56.)
“The Executive Board welcomes a potential partnership with KKR,” Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, said in a statement. “It would offer an excellent strategic perspective for our company. Our growth plans will require significant investment in people, products, technology and brands over the next years. The strategic partnership with KKR would enable us to pursue major growth opportunities by providing additional financial capabilities while relieving the mere focus on short-term financial targets. KKR is a long-term focused partner who respects and supports our commitment to independent journalism and our purpose of enabling free decisions.”
Döpfner and the company founder’s widow Friede Springer hold a total of 45.4 percent of Axel Springer. The bid from KKR is subject to a minimum acceptance threshold of 20 percent.
The news comes soon after Axel Springer announced teaming up with other traditional media publishers in Germany to sell combined advertising inventory in order to fight the big tech platforms like Google and Facebook. We talked about it in the recent podcast, so give it a listen: