German commercial broadcast group ProSiebenSat.1 and German media company Axel Springer are apparently in talks to combine their businesses.

The companies envision a tie-up with ProSiebenSat.1 emerging as the senior partner, reports The Wall Street Journal with reference to people familiar with the matter. The two players’ combined market capitalisation amounts to roughly €14.4 billion.

Negotiations are at an early stage and could still break down, according to the report. A deal would face several issues including regulatory approval.

The two companies know each other well: In 2005 Axel Springer wanted to buy a controlling stake in ProSiebenSat.1, but the Federal Cartel Office blocked the move, arguing that such a takeover would yield too much power to Springer.

Industry bankers and lawyers, however, say that the rise of digital rivals has changed the competitive landscape and could facilitate a deal, reports the paper. But they added that getting approval could require the companies to shed some assets.

Comment by Jörn Krieger, German editor, Broadband TV News: A merger of ProSiebenSat.1 and Axel Springer makes perfect sense. The combination of financial power, synergies and local market knowledge would put the companies in a better position to fight off competition from US players like Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix.