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Kirch Group

February 17, 2001
* EM.TV & Merchandising said that the chairman of its board has resigned over a rescue package under which broadcasting company Kirch Group will take a stake in the troubled media firm. Nickolaus Becker, head of EM.TV's supervisory board since 1997, has reportedly clashed with Kirch boss Dieter Hahn and sought alternative partners for EM.TV, including a consortium led by German publisher WAZ Group.
Germany's Kirch Group intervened Wednesday after months of haggling to rescue one of Germany's former "new-economy" shooting stars, EM.TV & Merchandising, and secure the coveted rights to Formula One racing events for Kirch's cable sports networks. Under a deal struck Wednesday, Kirch agreed to pay $550 million for half of EM.TV's Formula One holdings and for 25% of EM.TV itself, according to the struggling German entertainment company. EM.
January 9, 2001 | From Bloomberg News
Kirch Group, Germany's No. 2 media company, said it aims to complete talks within weeks about taking a stake in EM.TV & Merchandising, owner of Jim Henson Co., creator of the Muppets. The shares and bonds of EM.TV continued to slide amid reports the talks may break down. Although Kirch and EM.
December 4, 2000 | From Reuters
German media giant Kirch Group has agreed to acquire a minority stake in EM.TV & Merchandising, which owns the Muppets characters, and will assume several hundred million dollars in debt, industry sources told Reuters on Sunday. The deal, which comes after the troubled media company slashed profit forecasts for the year Friday, will give privately held Kirch a minority holding rather than the majority stake originally expected.
August 24, 1999 | From Bloomberg News
Viacom Inc., the world's fourth-largest media company, is in talks to buy a stake in Kirch Group, Germany's second-largest media company, according to Saudi Prince Al Waleed ibn Talal ibn Abdulaziz al Saud. The prince, who has holdings in several media companies, said Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone asked him to broker the transaction last week. "He wants to invest in Kirch and wants us to mediate," Al Waleed said in an interview here.
March 5, 1999 | From Bloomberg News
Rupert Murdoch and Canal Plus broke off talks on a possible linkup of Europe's two biggest pay-TV broadcasters, marking another setback in Murdoch's efforts to gain a foothold in continental Europe. Canal Plus said Chief Executive Pierre Lescure told Murdoch at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday that he would consider a linkup with No. 2 British Sky Broadcasting, 40% controlled by Murdoch's News Corp., only if Canal Plus retained management control. BSkyB declined to comment.
Like an impoverished maiden of yesteryear, the Kirch Group media empire has been primped up and paraded out to lure well-heeled suitors in hopes of financial rescue. But despite the debts pressuring it toward a quick corporate marriage with Italy's Mediaset or Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the giant, privately held conglomerate still owned and run by reclusive founder Leo Kirch has maneuvered to evade proposals that would break its independence.
January 13, 1999 | From Bloomberg News
Kirch Group, Germany's second-largest media company, might sell between 10% and 20% of the company to large investors, Managing Director Dieter Hahn told a news conference in Munich. Hahn said founder Leo Kirch will keep 51% of the company while another stake might be sold on the stock exchange, leaving 10% to 20% for interested investors. Hahn added that a decision on an initial offering hasn't been made and will depend in part on potential partners.
October 29, 1998 | MARLA MATZER
In a deal estimated to be worth $250 million, European media giants Kirch Group and Mediaset have agreed to invest for five years in films from newly formed Spyglass Entertainment. The two companies will receive theatrical, video and television rights to between 15 and 25 films for Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and the former Soviet Union. Spyglass previously announced a deal with Walt Disney Co., which has domestic distribution rights to its films for the same period.
August 26, 1997 | From Bloomberg News
Leo Kirch, head of German media company Kirch Group, is being investigated on suspicion of hiding "billions" of marks in profit from German tax authorities, German and Swiss prosecutors said Monday. The Munich prosecutor's office said it asked Swiss prosecutors to help with its 21-month-old probe into whether the head of Germany's second-biggest broadcasting company avoided paying up to the equivalent of $220 million in taxes, according to news reports.
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