Do you mean Springer, Springer or Springer?

© Getty Images/iStockphoto [m]What do we share with Merck and GE? The fact that our company name causes confusion.

There are several companies in the publishing sector with “Springer” in the name. To make things even more confusing, two ”Springers” have their roots in Germany and two were started by members of the same family. Two of them have a large presence in Berlin and two are primarily active in STM (scientific, technical and medical) publishing, one of which is the largest eBook and open access publisher in the sector. One of these companies is a leading multimedia company with newspapers, magazines, digital media and television interests. But which is which, and why should you care?
We’re going to talk about three “Springers” here, but if you include wider media sectors, such as printing, etc., there are even more. The three “Springers” we will discuss do not have any kind of business links to each other, and never have. Let’s start with the largest by revenue and work our way down.

Axel Springer SE was founded in Hamburg, Germany in 1946 by the publisher of the same name, and now has its headquarters in Berlin. In Germany, this Springer is best known for its tabloid Bild and its broadsheet newspapers such as Die Welt. There is much more, however – digital media, online marketing and classified ad portals as well as TV and radio holdings, to name a few. The 12,800 people that work at Axel Springer SE generated total revenues in 2013 of about EUR 2.8 billion, and its CEO is Dr. Mathias Döpfner. Axel Springer SE is listed on the German stock exchange (MDAX).

Springer Science+Business Media was founded in Berlin in 1842 by Julius Springer. Today, this Springer is a leading global scientific, technical and medical publisher, providing researchers in academia, scientific institutions and corporate R & D departments with quality content via innovative information products and services. Springer published roughly 2,200 English-language journals and more than 8,400 new books in 2013, and the group is home to the world’s largest STM eBook collection, as well as the most comprehensive portfolio of open access journals. Springer employs more than 7,000 individuals across the globe, and generated sales of approximately EUR 943 million in 2013. Derk Haank is the CEO of Springer Science+Business Media. Its logo is a stylized chess knight (“horse”), since “Springer” is the German word for the “knight” in chess.

Springer Publishing Company was founded in New York in 1950 by Dr. Bernhard Springer, the great grandson of Julius Springer. Springer Publishing is known as an innovative nursing, psychology, counseling, public health, social work, gerontology, and rehabilitation publisher. Ted Nardin is the CEO of Springer Publishing, which is privately held by Mannheim Holdings LLC, part of the Mannheim Trust.

We just want to finish with reminding you that despite the similarity in name, and even some relation by blood, these are three very separate companies. So if you’re writing about Springer, or you read or hear something about a Springer, you might want to take a second look to make sure you’ve got the right one!