Axel Springer on lookout for takeovers in digital field

BERLIN Thu Mar 6, 2014 6:05am EST

The logo of German publisher Axel Springer is seen at an office building in Zurich July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The logo of German publisher Axel Springer is seen at an office building in Zurich July 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE) is on the lookout for potential takeovers to strengthen its big push into digital media and away from its traditional print products.

"We want to take advantage of further acquisition opportunities," Chief Executive Matthias Doepfner told a news conference on the company's 2013 results, adding that the focus was on Internet business.

Axel Springer is in comfortable financial situation and has sufficient leeway for acquisitions, Chief Financial Officer Lothar Lanz added.

The publisher's agreement last year to sell its regional newspapers Berliner Morgenpost and Hamburger Abendblatt, five TV programme guides and two women's magazines to the Funke group should bring a further 920 million euros ($1.3 billion) into its coffers.

However, German competition regulators have yet to approve the deal and have asked for concessions from Springer and Funke to avoid the creation of dominant market position.

Axel Springer board member Andreas Wiele said the group had no doubt that the full deal would be approved, albeit with concessions. ($1 = 0.7278 euros)

(Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Christoph Steitz)

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