Springer to get stake in Polish b'caster

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German publishing giant Axel Springer is close to a deal to take a 25% stake in Polish broadcaster Polsat for €250 million ($321 million), sources near Springer said Monday.

The Polish bid comes just days after the German group bought into the Turkish TV market with the acquisition of 25% of broadcaster Dogan TV for €375 million ($481 million) (HR 11/17).

A successful bid for Polsat, Poland's second-largest channel, would shut out Springer competitor Bertelsmann, whose subsidiary RTL Group also has been circling the Warsaw-based network. Polsat is planning to go public by mid-2007.

Springer declined comment Monday but the Berlin company has made no secret of its desire to expand in the Polish market.

Springer already is the largest foreign publisher operating in Poland. It controls two national newspapers and distributes the Polish version of Newsweek.

Springer's cross-border shopping spree was spurred after German media watchdogs blocked the company's attempt to take over local television group ProSiebenSat.1.

But Springer could have the last laugh. Sources near the negotiations said Dogan is now among the bidders to take over ProSieben, a move that would give Springer a large, if indirect, stake in the company (HR 11/20).
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