MBO Acquires Kirch Sports Rights Unit as Auction Continues

14 October 2002

The dismemberment of KirchMedia, one-time flagship unit of defunct German media empire Kirch Gruppe, continues with a management buyout of the sports rights assets.

KirchMedia’s creditors have approved the takeover of Switzerland-based Kirch Sports Group, which holds broadcast rights to the 2006 soccer World Cup and Germany’s domestic leagues. The management deal, the value of which is unknown, is expected to be completed next week.

Meanwhile, the creditors have yet to choose a preferred candidate to take over the remainder of KirchMedia’s assets, which include a 52.5% stake in broadcast giant ProSiebenSat.1 and an extensive movie library.

Three consortia are left in the contest and have until October 30 to finalize their offers.

The trio comprises a consortium led by publisher Heinrich Bauer, possibly including Sony-owned movie studio Columbia TriStar; US billionaire Haim Saban with French broadcaster TF1; and a group consisting of Commerzbank, Lehman Brothers and several KirchMedia shareholders (said to include Italian media giant Mediaset).

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