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Axel Springer SE

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Axel Springer SE

Axel Springer SE
Societas Europaea
Traded as FWB: SPR
Industry Publishing
Founded 1946
Founder Axel Springer
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Key people
Mathias Döpfner (CEO and Chairman of the management board), Giuseppe Vita (Chairman of the supervisory board)
Products Magazines, newspapers, online portals, affiliate marketing
Revenue €3 billion (2014)[1]
€507.1 million (2014)[1]
Profit €235.7 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
13,917 (average, 2014)[1]

Axel Springer SE is one of the largest digital publishing houses in Europe, with numerous multimedia news brands, such as BILD, WELT, and FAKT and nearly 14,000 employees. It generated total revenues of about €3 billion and an EBITDA of €507 million in the financial year 2014. The digital media activities contribute more than 50% to its revenues and more than 70% to its EBITDA. Axel Springer’s business is divided into three segments: paid models, marketing models, and classified ad models.

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the company is active in more than 40 countries with subsidiaries, joint ventures, and licenses.

Front entrance to the Axel Springer headquarters building in West Berlin, 1977, with the Fritz Klimsch owl sculpture.

It was started in 1946/1947 by journalist Axel Springer.[2] Its current CEO is Mathias Döpfner. The Axel Springer company is the largest publishing house in Europe and controls the largest share of the German market for daily newspapers; 23.6%, largely because its flagship tabloid Bild is the highest-circulation newspaper in Europe with a daily readership in excess of 12 million.[3]


  • Newspapers, magazines, online offerings 1
    • Selection of publications 1.1
  • Corporate principles 2
  • History 3
  • Criticism 4
    • Zionism 4.1
    • Accusations of censorship 4.2
  • Competitors 5
  • Attacks 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Newspapers, magazines, online offerings

The media offerings of Axel Springer SE are clustered in: current news, autos, sports, computers and consumer electronics, as well as lifestyle.

Side view of the Axel Springer corporate headquarters in Berlin.
Axel Springer building in Hamburg.

Selection of publications

  • Die Welt, the intellectual flagship of the company
  • Bild, newspaper with the largest circulation in Europe
  • Auto Bild, automobile magazine with the largest circulation in Europe
  • Audio Video Foto Bild, magazine for consumer electronics
  • Computer Bild, published in nine countries, is Europe's best-selling computer magazine
  • Sport Bild, published in many countries, is Europe's biggest sport magazine
  •, the biggest Czech internet car portal including, starting in Slovakia and Poland as well
  • Fakt, the biggest daily tabloid in Poland
  • B.Z., local newspaper
  • Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, the intellectual flagship of the company in Poland
  • Watchmi, a personalized TV content discovery system[4]
  • Musikexpress, a monthly music magazine
  • the German edition of the magazine Rolling Stone
  • Business Insider, a business, celebrity and technology news website

In addition, the company is active in the online editorial and marketing business with its shares in, zanox, Digital Window, and and owns several classified advertising online platforms such as the online career site StepStone, the real estate marketing portal immonet and price comparison platform idealo.

Corporate principles

Part of the articles of association of Axel Springer AG are the five socio-political preambles that were written by Axel Springer in 1967, amended in 1990 following German reunification and supplemented in 2001.[5]

  1. To uphold liberty and law in Germany, a country belonging to the Western family of nations, and to further the unification of Europe.
  2. To promote reconciliation of Jews and Germans and support the vital rights of the State of Israel.
  3. To support the Transatlantic Alliance, and solidarity with the United States of America in the common values of free nations.
  4. To reject all forms of political totalitarism.
  5. To uphold the principles of a free social market economy.


  • 1946: Publisher Hinrich Springer (66) and his son Axel Springer (34) establish the limited company Axel Springer Verlag GmbH. Launch of the NORDWESTDEUTSCHE HEFTE and the radio and TV magazine HÖRZU.
  • 1948: Launch of the evening newspaper HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT, the first daily created by Axel Springer.
  • 1952: Launch of the popular daily BILD. The paper was based on the British tabloid Daily Mirror',[6] and peaked at circulation of 5 million in the 1980s.[7]
  • 1953: Axel Springer Verlag buys the publishing house DIE WELT, including the daily paper DIE WELT and the Sunday paper WELT am SONNTAG.
  • 1956: Company headquarters in Hamburg is built.
  • 1959: The company acquires the majority holding in Ullstein AG, including the Berlin newspapers B.Z. and the Ullstein book-publishing business.
The Springer building in Berlin was built adjacent to the Berlin Wall
East Berlin "death strip" of the Berlin Wall, as seen from the Axel Springer Building
  • 1966: Official opening of the Berlin headquarters. Hamburg remains important site.
  • 1968: After the attack on the students' leader Rudi Dutschke on 11 April 1968 the APO (Extra-Parliamentary Opposition) starts acts of violence against the company. The APO had a history of animosity with the Springer Group's allegedly biased coverage of the student movement. For instance, in the wake of the shooting of Benno Ohnesorg by the police at a student demonstration against the Shah, one Springer paper reported that “what happened yesterday in Berlin had nothing to do with politics… It was criminal in the most sickening way.”.[8] In fact, Ohnesorg, who had never attended a demonstration before, had been shot in the back while trying to leave the demonstration.[9]
  • 1972–73: Building of the offset-printing plant in Essen-Kettwig.
  • 1984: Official opening of the offset printing facility in Ahrensburg near Hamburg.
  • 1985: 49% of the company is offered for public subscription.[10] Later that year Axel Springer dies. Control is passed to his widow Friede Springer.[11]
  • 1986: The first licensed edition of AUTO BILD comes out in Italy. Other licensed editions and joint venture publications later appear in twenty European countries, Indonesia and Thailand.
  • 1993: Official opening of the offset printing works in Berlin-Spandau.
  • 2001: Axel Springer and T-Online establish a joint subsidiary AG.
  • 2002: Launch of Mathias Doepfner, former editor-in-chief of Die Welt, becomes CEO of Axel Springer AG.[12]
  • 2003: Name is changed to Axel Springer AG
  • 2009: Axel Springer AG acquires affiliate marketers Zanox and Digital Window as well as StepStone ASA[13]
  • 2010 a $635.7 million offer by Axel for leading French real estate website operator caused seloger shares to rise as much as 32% the most since it went public. Within 3 days Axel increased its offer 15.6% to $735 million after seloger shareholders rejected the deal.[14][15]
  • 2012 Axel Springer forms a joint venture (Axel Springer Digital Classified) with US private equity firm General Atlantic.[16] The company buys TotalJobs in the UK from Reed Elsevier.[17]
  • 2013: Springer sells its regional newspapers, woman's magazines, and television magazines to Funke Mediengruppe for €920 million[18]
  • 2013: Publications Grand Public, a French magazine publisher owned by Springer, is sold to Reworld Media.[19]
  • 2015: Axel Springer AG purchases Business Insider, a business, celebrity and technology news website, in a deal that values Business Insider at $442 million.[20]



The Axel Springer SE is criticized by German leftists and Muslims who maintain that Springer media show excessive support for Israel.[21]

Accusations of censorship

Axel Springer AG refused to publish advertising campaigns of the Left Party in 2005 as well as of the socialist PDS in earlier elections.[22]


Major competitors in the German publishing market include Holtzbrinck.


In the 1960s and 1970s the company was targeted by a number of left-wing groups. It was denounced by German-American writer Reinhard Lettau in an incendiary speech at the Freie Universität Berlin; in 1968 their Berlin headquarters was blockaded by students; in 1972 the Red Army Faction claimed responsibility for six bombs placed in the Hamburg building (only three exploded and 17 people were injured) and in 1975 a bomb exploded in their Paris office, the "6th of March Group" (connected to the Red Army Faction) claimed responsibility.[23]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Axel Springer SE Annual Report 2014". Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hans J. Kleinsteuber in Kelly. M, Mazzoleni. G and McQuail. D. eds. 2004 "The Media in Europe. The Euromedia Handbook."
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Principles and Guidelines". Axel Springer. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sex, Smut and Shock: Bild Zeitung Rules Germany".  
  7. ^ Kirschbaum, Erik (23 June 2012). "German daily sent to all 41 million households".  
  8. ^ Jeremy Varon, Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004), p.39
  9. ^ Jillian Becker, Hitler’s Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang (New York: JB Lippincott, 1977), p.39
  10. ^ Noam, Eli (1991). Television in Europe.  
  11. ^ "Springer May Shake Up Ad Market With ProSieben1 Bid (Update1)". Bloomberg. 1 August 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Boston, William (10 February 2014). "In Axel Springer's Bid for Forbes, a German Player Steps Out".  
  13. ^ Chronicle on
  14. ^ "Seloger.Com Shares Rise Most Ever as Shareholder Questions Springer Offer". bloomberg. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Axel Springer plans no higher offer for". 16 September 2010. 
  16. ^ "General Atlantic in €237m JV with German publisher Axel Springer". AltAssets. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Axel Springer buys Reed Elsevier's Totaljobs site".  
  18. ^ Sell-Off: Newspaper Giant Turns Back on Journalism
  19. ^ Axel Springer sheds some French magazines - report
  20. ^ German publishing powerhouse Axel Springer buys Business Insider at a whopping $442 million valuation
  21. ^ German: Springer is a speaking tube of zionist interests
  22. ^ German: Springer-Press boycotts Left Party
  23. ^

External links

  • Official website
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