Bidders for insolvent German film and sports rights giant KirchMedia – quondam flagship unit of defunct media empire Kirch Gruppe – may end up paying more than anticipated following a ruling from financial markets regulator BAFin.

Three consortia are said to remain in the race, having lodged indicative bids of up to €2.6 billion ($2.5bn; £1.7bn): American entrepreneur Haim Saban and French broadcaster TF1; Commerzbank and Sony-owned movie studio Columbia Tristar; and a collection of existing KirchMedia shareholders.

The watchdog has decided that the successful group, which will gain KirchMedia’s 52.5% stake in German television giant ProSiebenSat.1, will have to make a full public offer for the broadcaster.

Under German law, a company gaining over 30% of another firm must make a full takeover bid, offering a price based on that firm’s average stock value during the previous 90 days. BAFin has ruled that the winning consortium will have acted in concert and will hence be bound by this regulation.

The obligation may raise the triumphant bidders’ investment considerably. Around 36% of ProSieben is in free float, a stake currently worth around €745 million.

As a result, KirchMedia is mulling a change in the auction, whereby the three consortia will be able to bid for ProSieben alone, omitting the various rights assets. The successful group would then buy the rights through ProSieben, shifting the cost of this section of the deal to the broadcaster’s shareholders.

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