DPA has alerted the BKartA to possible irregularities in a media
merger between the German arm of the US agency Associated Press
("AP") and the news service DDP. The merger between AP
and DDP took place in December last year and saw the owners of DDP
taking over AP's German business. At the time, the transaction
was not notified to the BKartA.
DPA believes that the merger between AP's German business
and DDP should have been notified to and subject to review by the
BKartA at the time. Accordingly, DPA has alerted the BKartA that
the merger has been consummated without having obtained the
required regulatory approval. DPA has also notified the BKartA that
it wishes to be involved in any proceedings to review the
In addition to alerting the BKartA to a possible non-notified
transaction, DPA has issued a statement stressing that media
pluralism could be affected by the deal.
Due to a recent change in policy, the BKartA no longer accepts
late notifications. In the event that a transaction was notifiable
and but has been consummated without the BKartA's approval, it
can now start proceedings to dissolve the deal. Following its
request, DPA could be heard if such proceedings are initiated.
The newly formed DAPD has responded that its deal with AP was
not notifiable to the BKartA, stating that DDP had at the time
undertaken a rigorous legal assessment which reached the conclusion
that such a merger would not have to be notified. Instead, DAPD
asserts that DPA is simply trying to take any possible legal steps
against its competitor DDP.
DPA's complaint to the BKartA follows a complaint which DDP
lodged at the European Commission against Agence France-Presse
(AFP), alleging that its competitor is illegally benefiting from
The BKartA has not commented on DPA's complaint against
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