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  • Wed, Sep. 14, 4:43 AM
    • European officials will unveil new technology rules today aimed at reining in many of the world's largest tech firms.
    • Under the proposals, which will take years to complete, European publishers may be given powers to charge internet companies whenever their content shows up in online results or other services.
    • Chat apps will also be more heavily policed by extending rules which currently only cover telecoms providers.
    | Wed, Sep. 14, 4:43 AM | 27 Comments
  • Oct. 13, 2015, 11:11 AM
    • German publisher Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF) is banning ad-blocking users from its Bild online site entirely, a move that marks a variation from its previous "freemium" approach.
    • The company will ask ad blockers to turn off the software or pay €2.99/month (about $3.40) to get (mostly) ad-free access to the site. The publication already had 265,000 digital subscribers at the end of June paying €4.99/month for full access -- less than €20M in annual revenues.
    • It's the most aggressive move by a European newspaper publisher to date. The company had put a freemium model on Bild two years ago with free content combined with paid exclusives.
    • Adobe and PageFair say about 198M people used ad blockers last year, up 40% Y/Y, resulting in anywhere from $12B-$22B in ad spending impact, depending on the estimates used. More than 30% of Germans use such software compared to about 5% globally.
    • Axel Springer lost a court case last month against Eyeo, which makes the Adblock Plus tool.
    | Oct. 13, 2015, 11:11 AM
  • Sep. 29, 2015, 10:50 AM
    • Germany's Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF) has sealed a deal to buy Web publisher Business Insider, paying $343M for 88% of the operation, subject to antitrust approval.
    • That adds on to its existing 9% stake, taking it to 97%. chief Jeff Bezos owns the rest through his Bezos Expeditions.
    • Axel Springer shares are down 4.1% in German trading.
    • The print giant and publisher of Das Bild says the move will broaden its global reach, increasing its worldwide digital audience by two-thirds to about 200M users.
    • It's a big move into English-language media after Axel Springer failed to buy the Financial Times, losing out to Nikkei in that last-minute bidding.
    • Axel Springer's CEO said on a conference call that Business Insider has yet to turn a profit, and that the company will take a break from acquisitions for now. Founder, CEO and editor in chief Henry Blodget will keep his role, as will COO/President Julie Hansen.
    • Previously: Report: Axel Springer nears deal for Business Insider (Sep. 21 2015)
    | Sep. 29, 2015, 10:50 AM
  • Sep. 21, 2015, 11:13 PM
    | Sep. 21, 2015, 11:13 PM | 1 Comment
  • Jul. 24, 2015, 10:52 PM
    • After holding its 50% of the Economist Group (publishers of The Economist) out of the sale of the Financial Times to Nikkei, Pearson (NYSE:PSO) is now reportedly in separate talks to sell the Economist stake.
    • The sale to a "diversified western media company" -- possibly Bloomberg? -- is expected to draw about £500M (about $775.5M), Politico Europe reports. That implies a whole group value of £1B, 17 times annual operating earnings.
    • The sale wouldn't give the buyer control of the Economist Group, as the other 50% is held by diverse shareholders who will have a say in the buyer. Only five buyers were considered suitable to take on the Financial Times, the paper reported: Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI), Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY), German publisher Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF) and Nikkei.
    • Politico Europe is a venture with Axel Springer, who was rumored to be buying the Financial Times before the sale was confirmed to Nikkei. Springer reportedly offered about £750M for the FT compared to Nikkei's £844M.
    • Unloading media properties is in line with Pearson's stated desire to refocus on its core education business.
    • Previously: Pearson up slightly after 5% revenue growth (Jul. 24 2015)
    • Previously: Pearson confirms $1.31B sale of Financial Times to Nikkei (Jul. 23 2015)
    | Jul. 24, 2015, 10:52 PM | 2 Comments
  • Jul. 23, 2015, 10:18 AM
    | Jul. 23, 2015, 10:18 AM
  • Jul. 23, 2015, 9:49 AM
    • In selling the Financial Times, Pearson (PSO +1%) is in advanced talks with German publisher Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF), and a consensus is building that Springer is the likely buyer in a billion-dollar-plus negotiation.
    • Nikkei has also had talks with Pearson, the Financial Times reports. Pearson is looking at a sale of the Financial Times Group, which includes the newspaper, related titles and a 50% stake in the Economist Group.
    • The move would put Axel Springer -- publisher of Germany's Bild and Die Welt -- into the English-language business. The company has a stake in Politico Europe and has been pursuing a strategic expansion, sources say: “Springer is sitting on a pile of cash and he wants to go big on digital ... He can’t do that in German; he needs an English language publication."
    • Previous reports had Pearson seeking up to £1B for the paper.
    • In Frankfurt, Axel Springer shares are down 1.9%, while in London, Pearson is up 1.8%.
    • Previously: Pearson decides to sell Financial Times (Jul. 23 2015)
    • Previously: Bloomberg: Pearson considering sale of Financial Times (Jul. 20 2015)
    | Jul. 23, 2015, 9:49 AM | 1 Comment
  • Jul. 20, 2015, 11:52 AM
    • Pearson Plc ADRs (NYSE:PSO) aren't blinking, -1.2%, following news the company was exploring a sale of the Financial Times that very briefly spiked shares in London.
    • Shares closed down 1.6% in London trading. Bloomberg reported that Pearson was looking at a sale that could value that business up to £1B ($1.6B), though there's no formal process at work, and Peel Hunt's Alex DeGroote says: "If Pearson can get £1B for the FT I will eat my hat."
    • German publisher Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF) -- currently talking merger with satellite firm ProSiebenSat.1 -- could be a buyer, as could European and Eastern investors.
    • A sale of the newspaper would fit in line with a Pearson that is refocusing on the core education unit.
    • Previously: New York State cutting Pearson testing with new Questar pact (Jul. 09 2015)
    | Jul. 20, 2015, 11:52 AM
  • Jul. 9, 2015, 11:54 AM
    | Jul. 9, 2015, 11:54 AM
  • Jul. 7, 2015, 10:48 AM
    • Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF) has responded to reports of merger talk with satellite broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 (OTCPK:PBSFF) by saying its majority owner, Friede Springer, wouldn't give up control of the publisher.
    • That doesn't mean a merger still isn't on. Reports are that a tie-up between the publisher and broadcaster would have ProSieben taking a dominant role, but Axel Springer has been pursuing plans to change legal structure to one that would have the Springer family maintaining control even if its stake slips below 50%.
    • The Springer family currently holds about 57% of Axel Springer.
    • The two companies have a combined market cap of nearly €15B, and accounted for combined revenues last year of €5.88B.
    • Previously: German media firms ProSieben, Axel Springer talk tie-up (Jul. 06 2015)
    | Jul. 7, 2015, 10:48 AM
  • Jul. 6, 2015, 4:51 PM
    • Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 (OTCPK:PBSFF) and Axel Springer (OTC:AXELF) are in early merger talks, which would create a company with broadcast and publishing assets and a combined market cap of about $16B, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • The combination would get a hard regulatory look, though their combined revenues of about €5.9B still trail giant Bertelsmann -- Germany's largest media company, with €16.7B in revenue last year.
    • ProSieben would be the senior partner in this go-round, sources said. Axel Springer tried taking over ProSieben in a 2005 deal valuing the satellite firm at more than €4B, but regulators squelched the agreement. The emergence of digital rivals has changed the landscape since then.
    | Jul. 6, 2015, 4:51 PM