19.6 C
New York
Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Buy now


Axel Springer goes all-in on America

riceAttias Depfner In Germany is a polarizing figure.Lefty loathes him leading publishing mogul Axel Springer because pictorial, its flagship tabloid, helped set the tone for political debate. Conservatives were unhappy with his provocative remarks. Envious types of every kind envy his transformation from music critic to media mogul, who in 2020 received a gift of Springer stock worth €1bn ($1.1bn) from Friede Springer, the widow of the company’s eponymous founder.

Hear this story.
Enjoy more audio and podcasts iOS or android.

Your browser does not support

Across the Atlantic, Mr. Döpfner did not inspire similar enthusiasm. That’s about to change, as his ambition is to turn his company from No. 4 today into the largest digital publisher in the United States. “The US has become the main heart and growth engine of our publishing business,” Mr. Dopfner said.Springer already has politiciana website for American political news lovers, insideranother news site, and morning tea, providing business news. It’s part of Mr Döpfner’s plan to return to Springer’s origins as a news publisher, except mostly American, not German – and all digital.

He can be bold enough to think about expansion, because Springer is doing well in 2022. Sales of the group, which has 150 media brands in more than 40 countries, rose 13 percent to €3.9 billion, the second consecutive year of double-digit growth. Operating profit edged up to 750 million euros. Digital activities account for 85% of revenue and over 95% of profits. The group hired 400 journalists in the US in 15 months to support its newsroom while many of its US rivals cut staff.

Mr. Döpfner switched to online business very early. He sold some of Springer’s print newspapers and magazines. He used the proceeds on digital acquisitions such as StepStone, one of the most visited sites for job seekers in Germany; Idealo, a price comparison service; Awin, a marketing platform; and real estate portal Aviv.

The next step is to take StepStone public, possibly this year, followed by Aviv, Idealo and Awin.Proceeds from the sale can be used to buy out kkrThe American private equity giant that privatized Springer in 2019 became its largest shareholder with a 35.6% stake. This will make Mr. Döpfner, who owns 21.9% of the shares and exercises the voting rights of Ms. Springer’s remaining 22.5% of the shares, the undisputed owner of the company. That, in turn, would give him free rein to pursue his digital American dream.

“It’s a big bet,” said Douglas McCabe of research firm Enders Analysis. Digital news publishing is not yet a robust and sustainable business. Mr. Döpfner paid over $1 billion for this politicianSpringer’s largest acquisition ever, and Iinsider, also. While both companies made money last year, it may be some time before Springer sees a return on those investments.

As for party neutrality, Mr. Döpfner’s strategy is a response to the perception of many readers that it is nothing new in recent years that US publishers have not only nailed their colors to the mast on their media opinion pages, but in their So is the report. There is certainly room for nonpartisan news in America. However, it is unclear whether Mr. Döpfner will succeed. His German journalists agreed to abide by the five “points” of Axel Springer’s constitution, which included support for the transatlantic alliance and Israel’s right to exist. In Germany, he was known for his anti-Awakening, sometimes libertarian views, which in the eyes of Americans are closely associated with the Republican Party. Mr Döpfner insists he does not interfere with the editorial process and encourages dissent of his views.But his worldview prevailed in pictorial and swellingA big newspaper.

Nor will Springer’s American rivals willingly budge. Their reporters already made him feel unwelcome.his two months later politician acquisition, New York Times Published a story titled “In Axel Springer, Politico’s new owner, allegations of sex, lies and secret payments,” about a staff tryst with Julian Reichelt, Politico’s editor-in-chief pictorialThe day after the story was published, Mr. Döpfner fired Mr. Reichelt. But the saga hurt Mr Döpfner more than the earlier controversy. Despite a compliance investigation uncovering evidence of wrongdoing, Mr. Reichelt persisted for months and defended him privately, calling him a courageous journalist who had the courage to defy a awakened conformity.

Mr Döpfner resigned as chairman of the German Publishers Association in November last year after months of fierce criticism of his handling of the matter. He chalked it up to the need to focus on his “contrary bet” on nonpartisan journalism in democracies around the world, of which the United States is at the forefront, in an era of polarization and populism. Given the scale of the task he’s set for himself, the media mogul certainly needs all the time he can get.

To stay on top of the most important news in business and technology, subscribe to The Bottom Line, our weekly newsletter for subscribers.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles