Seven Sit at KirchMedia Poker Game, €2.6bn on the Table

05 August 2002

Seven unidentified players now sit in on the KirchMedia poker game, one of whom has already slapped a €2.6 billion ($2.57bn; £1.63bn) marker on the table.

The insolvent free-to-air TV and sporting rights group, currently up for auction, is the former flagship of Leo Kirch’s fallen media empire. Its assets include a majority stake in Germany’s largest pay-TV operator ProSiebenSAT.1.

Although a cloak of anonymity hangs over the players, among those who have declared interest are Saban Capital Group, the investment vehicle of former Power Rangers billionaire Haim Saban; a consortium comprising Commerzbank (one of Kirch’s main creditors) with Sony-owned US studio Columbia Tristar and French TV group TF1; plus an alliance of publishing trio Axel Springer, Heinrich Bauer, Spiegel with HypoVereinsbank.

Purred restructuring specialist and interim managing director of KirchMedia, Wolfgang van Betteray: “The high level of interest from potential investors confirms our view that the restructuring of KirchMedia can be completed successfully in the next few months.”

According to KirchMedia, creditor banks have lodged claims amounting to €8.5bn. Its most recent accounts show losses of €2.174bn on sales of €1.35bn.

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