BERLIN — The German cartel office has issued a statement of objection — a preliminary rejection — to the Kirch Group regarding its application to increase its share in commercial web Sat 1. The cartel office has until the end of July to make a final decision, but an extension of that deadline is under negotiation.
An extension would allow time for a parallel decision on Kirch and Bertelsmann’s application to increase their shares in pay TV station Premiere to 50-50 and expand Premiere into 15 channels. The cartel office is concerned about a monopoly position, and are considering the case in relation to Premiere. Kirch holds 43% in Sat 1 and is applying to take over the 15% stake held by publishing group Holtzbrinck.