Axel Springer buys stake in Turkish media group

Axel Springer buys stake in Turkish media group
Photo: DPA
German media giant Axel Springer said on Thursday it had agreed to buy a 29-percent stake in Turkey's biggest independent media group Dogan for €161 million ($239 million).

Springer, publisher of Germany’s best-selling daily Bild, said it would buy the stake following a capital increase by the Turkish firm, while at the same time reducing its stake in Dogan’s TV unit to 19.9 percent from 25 percent.

The deal replaces an agreement announced in November 2008 that had not closed yet which would have seen Springer obtaining a 9.1-percent stake in Dogan, according to a statement.

The new arrangement is however contingent on tax and regulatory proceedings brought against Dogan by Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council RTUK being successfully resolved, Springer added.

In September Dogan was fined €1.75 billion, prompting a sharp rebuke from the European Commission, saying that press freedom in EU wannabe Turkey was at stake.

The firm’s media outlets have been critical of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), fearing that the Islamist-rooted government is trying to undermine the secular basis of Turkish society.

The opposition has backed Dogan over the long-running dispute, suggesting it is a bid by the government to muzzle the press.

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