Heiress makes media boss an instant billionaire

Linda J. Dodson

The boss of German media giant Axel Springer has become an instant billionaire after getting a €1bn share windfall. 

Chief executive Mathias Doepfner has been handed 15pc of the company by Friede Springer, the 78-year-old heiress and controlling shareholder of the newspaper and advertising business.

Mr Doepfner, 57, has also bought a further 4.1pc of her shares, meaning the pair will each hold 22pc of the company. 

Ms Springer said the move confirms Doepfner as her successor to the business, which publishes Germany’s most-read newspaper, the tabloid Bild as well as the upmarket broadsheet Die Welt

Founded in Hamburg shortly after the Second World War, Axel Springer has expanded from a newspaper business into European digital media giant. 

It owns titles such as financial news website Business Insider and the German edition of Rolling Stone magazine. 

American private equity giant KKR became the biggest shareholder in Axel Springer last year when it paid $3.2bn for a 43.5pc stake. 

As well as owning a greater slice of the group, Mr Doepfner will also be responsible for Springer’s voting rights. 

He joined Die Welt in 1998 before becoming chairman of Axel Springer’s management board in 2002. 

Mr Doepfner acquired the shares from Springer at €62.42 a share – the same price at KKR’s take-private offer.

Ms Springer said she had found “the ideal solution” to safeguard the future of Axel Springer and her foundation. 

“I am very happy and grateful to have found my successor in Mathias,” she added.

“Together with our new partner KKR, we will ensure that Axel Springer remains active and relevant as an independent media business and home of journalism”.

Source Article

Next Post

Uncle Ben's becomes Ben's Original in 'brand evolution'

Dive Brief: Mars Food is renaming its Uncle Ben’s rice brand Ben’s Original, the company announced. Three months ago, as other major food manufacturers were saying they would take another look at branding that some consumers found racially insensitive, Mars announced Uncle Ben’s would be undergoing a “brand evolution.” The […]