March 19, 2018 / 11:48 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Axel Springer denies report of planned capital increase

* Follows magazine report of imminent plans to raise capital

* CEO was speaking about “abstract possibility” in interview (Updates with comment from company)

BERLIN, March 19 (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer said on Monday it had no plans for a share placement, after a magazine reported that the company could decide on such a measure this week to raise capital to finance acquisitions.

The publisher has shifted its focus in recent years, with newspapers such as Die Welt and Bild becoming gradually less important to its overall business as it moves toward online classified portals such as jobs site Stepstone.

In an interview published on Monday, Manager Magazin quoted CEO Mathias Doepfner as saying Axel Springer was eyeing acquisitions to fend off competition.

“We could initiate a capital increase,” it quoted Doepfner as saying, adding: “Also our major shareholders would be in a position to participate in a capital increase.”

But a spokeswoman for Axel Springer said the company was not investigating a possible capital increase and that Doepfner was speaking about an “abstract possibility”.

“There are currently no plans for a capital increase nor are such steps being considered,” the spokeswoman said.

Manager Magazin said Doepfner had replied to a question about possible takeover targets by saying: “Wait and see what opportunities are on offer. More likely are multiple small ones than a big one.” (Reporting by Klaus Lauer Writing by Tom Sims Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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