As forecast in yesterday’s WAMN, the woes of German media group EM.TV have indeed deteriorated from “awful to atrocious”, with an incredible DM2.8 billion loss ($1.27bn) for 2000 – despite increased sales of DM1.3bn.

The dire result compares with a net profit of DM160 million in 1999. EM.TV attributes the disaster to charges associated with its purchase last year of American TV production unit, the Jim Henson Company (creator of the Muppets), and a major stake in world motor-racing organiser Formula One.

According to EM.TV chief executive Thomas Haffa, a 100% sale of the Jim Henson Company is feasible, but he is also mulling a strategic regional partner who would run part of the Henson production business together with EM.TV.

Chief financial officer Rolf Rickmeyer said the group planned to reduce its share in the Formula One motor racing business from 37.5% to 17.5% during 2001, enabling it to redeem a $987m debt to Kirch Gruppe.

Haffa stressed the company's determination to "make a clean break and to present a clear signal for a new start." His rhetoric appeared to impress investors and EM.TV shares closed up 4.19% at E5.47.

News source: Handelsblatt (Germany)