BERLIN, June 12 (Xinhua) -- German media company Axel Springer announced on Wednesday an agreement with U.S. investor KKR which is offering 63 euros per share for all outstanding shares of one of Europe's largest publishing groups.
"The Executive Board welcomes a potential partnership with KKR. It would offer an excellent strategic perspective for our company," Mathias Doepfner, CEO of Axel Springer said.
According to Axel Springer, the offer by KKR would imply a value of Axel Springer of approximately 6.8 billion euros (7.7 billion U.S. dollars) and would be subject to a minimum acceptance threshold of 20 percent as well as further "customary conditions, including foreign investment and merger control clearances."
Friede Springer, who indirectly and directly controls 42.6 percent of the shares, and Axel Springer CEO Doepfner, who owns 2.8 percent of the shares and would continue to lead the company, had agreed with the U.S. investor to retain their shares, the German media company currently listed in the M-DAX announced.
"Our growth plans will require significant investment in people, products, technology and brands over the next years," CEO Doepfner added.
The strategic partnership with KKR would enable the German media company that is already creating most of their revenues from digital business "to pursue major growth opportunities by providing additional financial capabilities while relieving the mere focus on short-term financial targets."
Axel Springer stated that the offer came with a "highly attractive premium" of almost 40 percent compared to the share price on May 29, 2019, before Axel Springer confirmed discussions with KKR about a potential strategic investment.
The German media company that also publishes Germany's largest newspaper "Bild", stressed that KKR would support Axel Springer's strategy of investing in further growth projects to generate long-term value while remaining "a leading voice in independent journalism across all channels, nationally and internationally alike."