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KKR Wants a Slice of Germany's Most Influential Publishing House

  • Buyout of Axel Springer would help CEO’s online media push
  • German publisher issues profit warning alongside KKR offer
Bloomberg business news
The deal would value Axel Springer at about 6.8 billion euros ($7.7 billion). Bloomberg’s Benedikt Kammel reports.(Source: Bloomberg)
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For decades, Axel Springer’s widow has been the keeper of his legacy, grooming executives to enforce the founder’s vision at the publisher of Germany’s Bild tabloid while solidifying the family grip with a controlling stake. But as the company advances its costly transformation into a digital media powerhouse, Friede Springer is finding that she needs a partner to help shoulder the burden.

Enter KKR & Co., which is seeking to buy out minority shareholders with an offer that values Axel Springer SE at 6.8 billion euros ($7.7 billion). Friede Springer and CEO Mathias Doepfner, who together hold more than 45% of the company, are betting that the private-equity company’s clout and deep pockets will help them with the transition online.