Kirch Units Look to the Future

07 June 2002

Positive news about moribund German media empire Kirch Gruppe has recently been as rare as an upped ad budget. Until, that is, this week, which produced two upbeat reports about the debt-stricken group.

First, cash-burning pay-TV platform Premiere World – part of KirchPayTV, which recently filed for insolvency – is reportedly close to securing the €100 million plus ($94m; £64m) it needs to keep it afloat until the end of the year.

Premiere’s creditor banks – Bayerische Landesbank, Bawag and HypoVereinsbank – are said to have received favourably a rescue package presented to them earlier this week by ceo Georg Kofler. “I got the impression that the banks felt they would be able to live with the plan,” opined KirchPayTV insolvency administrator Joseph Füchsl.

Kofler, who inherited a €1.5m a day cash loss when he became ceo in March, is planning to move the platform into the black by 2005, partly by laying off 1,000 of the 2,400-strong workforce by the end of this year. However, earlier plans for the banks to take stakes in Premiere are said to have been abandoned.

Separately, Kirch’s flagship unit KirchMedia – undeterred by its own insolvency filing – has announced it is bidding to renew its lucrative TV rights contract with elite German soccer league the Bundesliga.

“We are in highly constructive talks with the German soccer authorities and have made a fair offer that was very well received,” KirchMedia’s sports rights chief Alexander Liegl declared.

Data sourced from: Handelsblatt (Germany); additional content by WARC staff