‘Lively Interest’ in Kirch by Bertelsmann, Malone and Murdoch

13 May 2002

Circling the virtual corpse of Kirch Gruppe’s bankrupt unit KirchPayTV are the usual carrion-pickers, prominent among which are said to be rival German media group Bertelsmann, and global media magnates John Malone and Rupert Murdoch.

KirchPayTV, which filed for bankruptcy last Wednesday [WAMN: 09-May-02], is the parent of the Premiere World Channel, also bankrupt. The latter’s chief executive,Georg Kofler, was reported Friday in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper to be ‘working on a plan to cut the channel’s debts and costs’ in an effort to place it on an independent basis.

Questioned as to whether an investment by Bertelsmann. Malone or Murdoch might be on the cards, Kofler conceded that although there had been "lively interest in talks with these and other companies,” the scale of the Kirch group’s problems and its labyrinthine structure had hindered progress.

Kofler also volunteered that negotiations are set to continue over the coming weeks with Hollywood studios and the nation’s Bundesliga soccer league – attempting in both cases to renegotiate existing rights deals, a prerequisite to the channel’s survival.

Data sourced from: Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff