CLT-Ufa, Kirch seal deal

Partners to take equal stakes in Premiere

BERLIN — CLT-Ufa and the Kirch Group on Friday evening inked the contract confirming their plans to integrate their pay TV activities in Germany.

CLT-Ufa, a joint venture of Bertelsmann AG and Luxembourg broadcaster CLT, and Munich media mogul Leo Kirch announced last summer that they would cooperate in establishing digital pay TV in Germany through pay TV web Premiere.

The two partners will take equal stakes in Premiere, and Kirch’s fledgling digital pay TV platform DF1 will be merged with Premiere. Competitors on the free TV market in Germany, CLT-Ufa and Kirch have spent the past months negotiating the details of their pay TV agreement.

The 60-page contract will be submitted to EU cartel commissioners on Monday, Bertelsmann board member Michael Dornemann told reporters in Munich on Saturday. Saying that the agreement does not violate media antitrust regulations, Dornemann dismissed recent warnings by federal and EU media authorities that the merger of Kirch’s and CLT-Ufa’s pay TV enterprises could be considered a monopoly.

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