Saudi Prince is Latecomer in KirchMedia Auction

13 August 2002

Following last week's story [WAMN: 09-Aug-02], another finalist emerged Sunday in the poker game for ownership of bankrupt German broadcaster and sporting rights giant KirchMedia.

With the gamers reduced to just two contending syndicates – Saban Capital Group/TF1and Columbia TriStar/Commerzbank – a third player moseyed into town laden with sufficient chips to sit at the high-stakes table.

Folding money is not in short supply at the Royal House of Saud, represented at the table by the latest comer, Prince Al Waleed - and in the unlikely event his marker gets overstrained by the bidding, he is partnered by US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

It is uncertain whether any other of the interested consortia will join the game. Foremost among these is Germany's second largest bank, HVB Group with publishing trio Axel Springer, Heinrich Bauer and Spiegel-Verlag Rudolf Augstein – whose initial €2.6 billion ($2.54bn; £1.66bn) bid was too low to buy it a place at the table. Of the others, US media giant Viacom has flounced out of the casino, according to those in the know.

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