German publisher Axel Springer has succeeded in acquiring a controlling stake in commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, opening the way for the merger of the two Teutonic media giants.

COLOGNE, Germany (The Hollywood Reporter) -- German publisher Axel Springer has succeeded in acquiring a controlling stake in commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, opening the way for the merger of the two Teutonic media giants.

In an announcement Oct. 12, Springer said it had bought 63.1% of ProSieben, including all of the voting shares in the company and 26.2% of its preferred shares.

Springer signed a deal this summer with an investment group headed by Haim Saban to acquire control of ProSieben.

Springer will cough up about $5 billion for the broadcaster: some $3 billion for the shares controlled by Haim Saban & Co.; around $1.4 billion to buy out minority shareholders; and some $600 million in assumed debt.

The Springer-ProSieben merger will bring together the country's largest free-TV broadcaster and Europe's No. 1 newspaper publisher. Although competitors of Springer and ProSieben view the deal with suspicion, it is expected to pass muster with German media authorities.