Axel Springer wins status proceedings with Hengeler Mueller

07. May 2019

The Berlin Regional Court has rejected a claim on the appointment of employee representatives to the supervisory board of Axel Springer SE, brought by Konrad Erzberger with support of members of the works council and the labour union ver.di. In its decision, which has not yet become final, the court has come to the conclusion that the supervisory board of Axel Springer SE is correctly composed, since it consisted only of shareholder representatives before the conversion into a European Stock Corporation (SE) in order to protect the journalistic activities of the publishing house. The decisive factor was the non-co-determination practised at the time of conversion (actual vs. legally required state). This issue is of great relevance when establishing an SE and is much contested amongst Regional Courts. Although it was not crucial for the case at bar, the court indicated that Axel Springer had rightly made use of the freedom from co-determination as a result of the journalistic autonomy ("Tendenzschutz") at the time of conversion, i.e. all legal requirements had been fulfilled. Freedom from co-determination is perpetuated in the SE.

Hengeler Mueller advises Axel Springer SE. The team includes partner Andreas Austmann as well as associate Gerrit Forst (both Corporate, Düsseldorf).