German media group Axel Springer and TV broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 have disbanded their merger ambitions and will instead launch a joint project supporting new digital startups.

The initiative aims at promoting innovative digital business ideas and startups in order to enhance the positioning of Germany as a digital hub also on an international level. Joint investments in companies and funds, networking of incubator and accelerator programmes as well as media-for-equity investments are planned in order to achieve this goal.

A shareholding tie-up between Springer and ProSiebenSat.1 is, however, not on the agenda, stressed spokespeople from both sides. In early July 2015, it was rumoured in industry circles that the companies were exploring merger opportunities.