Friede Springer and Mathias Döpfner in the YouTube video – media

Can love be a sin? No, no, she can’t, and certainly not when she appears so pure, so innocent as in the film that has been in the big fairy tale chest on YouTube since the day before yesterday. A man in his prime does not exchange rings with a woman in even better years, but does exchange nice thoughts. The situation is very intimate, but we can be there, see and hear the man stammering. With a sigh, he almost confesses to his beloved that he is “a little lacking in words”, but then he brings it out completely, the arch-poetic sentence: “I always wanted that restless sleep of the lover.”

But oh, that’s not true at all, that was a hearing mistake, the man says something completely different: “I always wanted that restless sleep of the entrepreneur.” As lovingly as the two look into each other’s eyes, as encouragingly as she pats his arm and assures “We can do it, Mathias!”, The disappointed romantic in the audience soon notices that this is about money, about a lot of money. Friede Springer, the main shareholder of Axel Springer, is giving her young CEO Mathias Döpfner, 57, shares worth more than one billion euros, and is also transferring his own voting rights to him. And yet love has to be involved, the two radiate out into the world so enthusiastically from this act of donation (the video is also subtitled in English) that no one thinks about the stupid money anymore. Everyone should know, everyone should experience how happy she is. “I feel very good,” said 78-year-old Friede Springer, now that “the contracts are so far”. One would have to have the heart of a Bismarck monument not to be touched by this chiseled sentence: “Mathias, you will be my successor.”

It is, Goddess complained, simply too little love in the world, all the more comforting for us that we are allowed to witness this spectacle of tender intimacy. There is a lot of wood in the background, and if you didn’t see the bibliophile volumes on the right edge of the picture, you could assume that the two found each other in the Finnish sauna. Years ago Döpfner declared that he was the last to sweat among colleagues, but here he seems a bit overwhelmed. From money or not from luck?

Because love is not “this birding in and out” like Franz Josef Wagner to us poeta laureatus from Image, just let know, but “when my partner pushes me in a wheelchair, when I remain loyal to him in illness and need”. So it has to be love after all, and such a pretty little billion as a morning gift is certainly not to be despised.


Friede Springer gives Mathias Döpfner shares for a reason

Dhat is a gift of one billion euros, a colleague has calculated very quickly. One billion? One billion. Friede Springer gave this to Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of the media company founded by her husband, Axel Cäsar Springer, who died in 1985. The billion dollar gift consists of fifteen percent of the company’s shares. Döpfner Friede Springer buys another 4.1 percent of the shares for 276 million euros. So far Döpfner already had three percent, now the Springer widow and the CEO each have 22 percent. The third major shareholder in the group is the American investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) with 47.6 percent since last year.

Michael Hanfeld

Responsible editor for features online and “media”.

Sounds complicated, and it is, but basically very simple and exactly what Friede Springer said yesterday. She is very “happy and grateful that I have found my successor in Mathias”. She always said that she would “ensure continuity in the company. The future of the company was very important to me for my entire life. ”Now she has found an ideal solution – for Springer-Verlag and the two foundations that she heads.

So we are dealing with a quasi-dynastic transition, which the German Press Agency puts into words in “picture” fashion: “Springer is now Döpfner”. It is about a succession to the throne, which of course has nothing to do with ancestry, but with performance. Over the years, Friede Springer has taken a close look at how Mathias Döpfner acts. In 1998 he came to the publishing house and became editor-in-chief of “Welt”. Two years later he joined Springer’s executive board, and in 2002 he became chairman of the executive board. He had to endure two major crises and two major defeats. In 2005 Springer got ready to take over the TV group Pro Sieben Sat 1, but this failed due to the objection of the Federal Cartel Office. The 2007 investment in the postal service provider Pin Group resulted in a fiasco, because the company was ordered to pay the statutory minimum wage for deliverers. In competition with the Post it had no competitive advantages, but massive disadvantages. Springer was out at the end of the year.

But these were only stages in the expansion and transformation of the Springer publishing house into a multimedia company, whose balance sheet looks very different today. The turnover last year was 3.11 billion euros, the group profit was 263.7 million euros. Springer has taken radical, sometimes tough steps for the workforce, and has invested heavily in digital business. The publisher is still identified with “Bild” and “Welt”, “Bild am Sonntag” and “Welt am Sonntag”, but these have long been part of a larger media network together with the news channel N24, which has since been acquired. Springer has sold its regional newspapers and instead opted for online offers, journalistic and commercial brands. These include job, price comparison or real estate portals that are now on the advertising markets that newspapers have lost since the beginning of digitization. With the investor KKR, Springer wants to venture into the phalanx of the very big ones and become Europe’s number one in a media market dominated by the American data corporations operating worldwide.

In the competition with these, it is of course not just about profits, but about the whole, about the foundations of democracy and the survival of press journalism that is independent of both the state and the favor of megacorporations. Döpfner, who studied music, theater and German studies, acts as its champion in his role as President of the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV).

He does this with a similar impetus, and preferably also pathos, like Axel Springer’s own. He said at the time that newspapers should write about politics, but shouldn’t do it. But he knew exactly that they are part of politics and of course make politics, above all the “Bild” newspaper. What Axel Springer was not yet able to know about are today’s rulers of data who, as soon as society and politics ask about their responsibility, pretend they have nothing to do with the consequences of their work. It’s different in journalism, with the press, with publishers, with a media company like Springer. It is not surprising that Friede Springer, as the guardian of her late husband’s legacy, believes she has found the ideal successor in Mathias Döpfner. Well over a billion are involved.