Murdoch's Berlin 'Sun' clone goes bust

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(First Edition)

JUST OVER a year after its much-publicised launch, Super, a brash Sun-lookalike tabloid aimed exclusively at the east German market, closed down yesterday. News of the closure dropped like a bombshell in the paper's Berlin headquarters, where many journalists wept after being told that, despite an average daily circulation of almost 400,000, Super was losing too much money to be kept afloat.

The decision to shut down was taken after Rupert Murdoch, the joint proprietor, announced his intention to pull out earlier this week. Burda, Mr Murdoch's German publishing partner, said yesterday that it was not in a position to buy up his 50 per cent stake and had been unable to find an alternative partner.

'It is a great shame that the paper has got to close, but we could not afford to run it alone,' said Norbert Sakowski, Burda's publishing director. 'The journalists did a terrific job, but we were simply losing too much money. The economic situation in eastern Germany has not improved as much as we had hoped.'

When Super first hit the news-stands in May last year it immediately caught the attention of the hitherto rigorously protected east German public. Page Three girls were prominently displayed on the cover and most of the inside pages. Bingo competitions screamed out the prospect of rich winnings for all and, unlike most other products on the market, the paper prided itself on identifying with the dreams and fears of ordinary east Germans. Burda plans to expand production of Super Illu for those accustomed to big breasts and titillating tales.