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Bavarian Higher Administrative Court: Prohibiting the planned takeover of ProSiebenSat.1 by Axel Springer was unlawful

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15.02.12

Bavarian Higher Administrative Court: Prohibiting the planned takeover of ProSiebenSat.1 by Axel Springer was unlawful

In its decision of 15 February 2012 the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court (BayVGH) overturned the decision by Bayerische Landeszentrale für Neue Medien (BLM) of 15 May 2006 to reject the application by Axel Springer to receive a media clearance certificate for acquisition of the shares in ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG in 2005/06.

In making its decision BLM was legally bound by the prior decision by KEK (Kommission für die Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich). KEK had come to the assessment that by taking over ProSiebenSat.1, Axel Springer would acquire “dominant opinion influence” within the meaning of the interstate broadcasting treaty, and BLM had refused to issue the requested clearance certificate for that reason. BayVGH has now reached the conclusion that this refusal was unlawful. The underlying KEK decision—that dominant opinion influence would be created by the takeover of ProSiebenSat.1 planned at the time by Axel Springer—is inconsistent with the interstate broadcasting treaty, it said.

Axel Springer AG considers its legal position to be vindicated by the ruling of the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court. It had filed a so-called continuation action for declaratory judgment against the BLM/KEK decision in order to obtain legal clarity after the previously planned takeover project was terminated. The Bavarian Higher Administrative Court did not permit the appeal to proceed to the Federal Administrative Court.

media contact: Christian Garrels