Kirch empire split into three

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LEO KIRCH, the German media mogul (pictured), has completed the long-awaited restructuring of his empire into three holding companies, opening the way to a possible partnership with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset.

Taurus Film is to control Mr Kirch's film and television production and the trade and use of television rights, which includes the rights to two future football World Cups. Pay Co will handle the group's digital and pay-TV activities, while a third company will incorporate the publisher Springer-Verlag and the Sat1 broadcaster. A spokesman for Mr Kirch yesterday said further details would be announced this week.