Flailing Kirch Mulls Premiere Closure

15 March 2002

Desperately seeking a restructuring scheme to avoid collapse, ailing German media giant Kirch Gruppe is reportedly considering shutting down its cash burning pay-TV platform Premiere World.

Kirch has been keen to find new investors for Premiere, but has had little success in soliciting bids for a broadcaster losing €1.5 million ($1.3m; £0.9m) a day and likely to exhaust its cash reserves in September [WAMN: 22-Feb-02].

“A closure of Premiere is not something that can be ruled out,” an insider revealed Thursday. “Given the seriousness of the situation, there are not that many options that can be excluded.”

Kirch has been advised by insolvency experts that its KirchMedia rights trading division could withstand the shuttering of Premiere, to which it sells film rights.

The option to close the platform was brought up at the meeting between Kirch and its creditors at the start of the week, but some banks owed money by Premiere are thought to be opposed to the idea.

Further talks are scheduled for Sunday, while the pay-TV division’s managing director Georg Kofler will unveil a restructuring scheme for the unit on Tuesday. His plans will include the reduction of Premiere’s 2,710-strong workforce by about 10%, mainly through axing call centre staff.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff