KirchPayTV: BSkyB Exercises Put Option

14 May 2002

Rupert Murdoch’s UK digital satellite TV operation BSkyB announced Monday it had exercised its put option to sell its 22% holding in Germany’s insolvent KirchPayTV.

The curious deal was sealed well in advance of its due date, October 1, and BSkyB would reveal only that “certain circumstances” has arisen that allowed it to do so.

Title in the stake passes to KirchPayTV’s holding company Taurus, although Sky insists the sale will not realise a significant sum of money – if any. It has already written-off £1 billion ($1.45bn; €1.60bn) of its original investment in the Kirch unit, earlier claimed to be worth just £811,502m.

KirchPayTV is currently fighting a last ditch battle with creditors and investors to fend-off bankruptcy while chief executive Georg Kofler seeks a white knight.

Industry observers wonder if Rupert Murdoch could at this very moment be donning his snowy armour – an act that just might be connected with the “certain circumstances” surrounding the premature sale of Sky’s stake.

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