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Flextech inks IFE deal

Flextech, the British cable and satellite TV company, has signed a deal with Intl. Family Entertainment to take a 39% stake in the U.K. version of IFE’s Family Channel, which is due to launch this fall.

Under terms of the deal, the Children’s Channel (TCC), which is 50.1% owned by Flextech, will operate with the development of the Family Channel across Europe.

At the same time, Flextech announced that the Children’s Channel has entered a new joint venture with another U.S. firm, Quantum Intl., to create a home shopping service for broadcast throughout Europe via the Astra satellite. Quantum Intl. is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Media Corp.

The infomercial service will transmit in the unused night hours of TCC’s Astra transponder, from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Sunday. It will broadcast in four languages — English, Dutch, German and French.

Flextech also confirmed Wednesday that it had signed a contract for the Children’s Channel, which currently transmits in the clear, to be scrambled as part of the BSkyB mini-pay package of channels, due for launch this fall. This will earn valuable new subscription revenues for all seven channels involved.

All these announcements came as Flextech revealed a pretax loss of T1.1 million ($ 1.7 million) for the 10-month period to Dec. 31, 1992. Early last year the company sold its core oil business for T55 million ($ 84.7 million) to concentrate on its TV interests, which include a 49.5% stake in the small British cable operator IVS, and 20% of program distrib Hit Entertainment.

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