Springer said that after "an extensive review of all issues, including the various publishing aspects" it had decided not to make an offer for Mirror.
As Mirror shares plunged 24.5p to 288.5p, David Montgomery, the group's chief executive, welcomed the announcement. "This always looked like an attempt to take control of Mirror Group on the cheap," he said.
"Axel Springer at no time approached us to talk about price, although we would have been happy to share with them our view about the current and future value of the business."
Springer's board is understood to have made the decision after agreeing that other potential acquisitions outside the UK offered better value.
The news ends weeks of speculation about Mirror's future and increases the pressure on Mr Montgomery to reverse the group's flagging share price. Last night, analysts said they expected the shares to slip below 200p unless another bidder entered the fray. But Trinity, the regional newspaper publisher which had been in talks with Mirror before Springer emerged, is thought to be unwilling to offer the 300p a share that Mirror's board is holding out for.
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