German billionaire Mathias Döpfner and private equity group KKR are negotiating a break-up of media conglomerate Axel Springer, the Financial Times reported Thursday, citing four people with knowledge of the matter.

A potential deal would separate the group’s media assets from its digital classifieds operation, the report said.

Under the terms of the separation, KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, who together have the largest shareholding in Axel Springer, would take control of its portfolio of classifieds websites, including jobs platform StepStone and real estate ads unit Aviv, the report said.

Friede Springer, the widow of the company’s founder, along with Doepfner would assume greater control of the group’s media properties, the report added.

A spokesperson for Axel Springer, when contacted by Reuters, said “all shareholders are highly satisfied with Axel Springer’s progress since its delisting in 2019,” but declined further comment.

Axel Springer’s classifieds business is faster-growing and more profitable than its media business, the report said, adding that taking control of the unit could help pave the way for KKR to begin exiting its investment five years after it partnered with Doepfner to take Axel Springer private.

A KKR spokesperson told Reuters “together we have made significant progress against Axel Springer’s digital and international ambitions, and believe in the continued success and growth of the business.”

KKR had become the biggest shareholder of Axel Springer in 2019 by taking a 43.54% stake for 2.9 billion euros ($3.15 billion).

Axel Springer houses brands including Politico, Business Insider, Bild and Die Welt. The company is pushing into artificial intelligence and recently announced a partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI.

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