On 8 June 2010, the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof)
ruled that the prohibition of the merger between the publishing
company Axel Springer AG and the television stations ProSieben and
-SAT1 was lawful.
In 2006 the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) prohibited the
merger between Axel Springer AG, a leading German media corporation
that owns several German newspapers (e.g. "BILD",
"Die Welt") and the television stations ProSieben and
Sat1. The FCO had concluded that the planned merger would
strengthen inter alia the dominant position of the parties on the
German television advertising market.
Even though the parties abandoned the merger, Axel Springer AG
filed an appeal before the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf
in order to bring legal certainty to possible future mergers. The
Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf dismissed the appeal as
This decision of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf
has now been confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court. The Federal
Supreme Court confirmed that at the time of the merger filing the
German television advertising market was an oligopoly with a market
share of more than 80%. This oligopoly consisted of the television
station group ProSieben, SAT1, Kabel 1 and N24 and the television
stations RTL, VOX and n-tv that belong to the Bertelsmann group.
The Federal Supreme Court also confirmed the finding that the
concentration would lead to a strengthening of the dominant
position of the oligopoly on the television advertising market. The
Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf had based this finding
inter alia on the fact a media corporation consisting of Axel
Springer AG and the television stations ProSieben/Sat.1 would have
had the possibility of offering advertising clients combined offers
for television and newspaper advertising and to promote its offers
(i.e. television programmes and newspaper content) reciprocally. In
particular, ProSieben/Sat.1 television programmes could have had
extensive coverage in Axel Springer AG's leading newspaper
The exact reasoning of the Federal Supreme Court is unknown as
the full text of the decision is not yet available.
To view Community Week, Issue 475, 11 June 2010 in full,
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