Germans squeeze BSkyB out of TV frame
Sunday 17 January 1999
Dieter Hahn, managing director of Kirch Group, indicated last week that Mr Berlusconi, a long-standing business associate of Mr Kirch, was the preferred minority partner for his German television and film interests.
"It is very likely that there will be a deal within the first quarter of 1999," said Mr Hahn.
Kirch Group Germany's largest private television and film concern. A deal between Mr Kirch and Mr Berlusconi would leave Mr Murdoch without significant influence in the largest TV market in Europe. Mr Murdoch has said repeatedly he wants to position himself strongly in this market and has had prolonged - but fruitless - discussions with Mr Kirch, Mr Berlusconi, Bertelsmann and Canal Plus of France about possible alliances. Currently he jointly owns Vox, a small television company, with CLT-Ufa. It has only 3 per cent of the German television market.
Now Mr Kirch is expressing a clear preference for Mr Berlusconi as minority partner to finance his ambitions in German digital television. No final decision has been taken, but Mr Hahn thinks "the most likely outcome" will see Kirch combine the sale of a small minority stake with a public offering of 30 per cent.
"If Kirch wants 51 per cent, that leaves an upper limit of 19 per cent for outside investors," said Mr Hahn. .
Mr Kirch needs to strike a deal because his move into digital television has racked up losses running into billions of marks. To introduce other investors and pave the way for a stock market flotation, Mr Kirch has separated his digital television interests from his newspapers and his film and television production assets. Despite rumours that Mr Kirch is heavily indebted to Deutsche Bank, Mr Hahn said last week that Kirch could launch the float immediately.
Mr Kirch's newspaper interests include his holding in Springer, the newspaper group which has pre-emptive rights over the Kirch stake. Friede Springer, the widow of the group's founder, has vowed to oppose a deal with Mr Murdoch.
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...