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CME pulls out of Puls

BERLIN — Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) announced Tuesday it is pulling out of money-losing Berlin station Puls TV.

CME’s stake in the ailing regional channel had grown to over 59% since it became the sole partner supporting Puls TV’s losses of more than $1 million a month in late 1995. CME will take a writedown of about $20 million against its German operations. The other shareholders in the weblet include Time Warner, Ulrich Schamoni, George Soros and APA Falladium GmbH.

Puls TV, which began broadcasting in 1993 under the name 1A, was relaunched with a new programming format in May 1996. Yet the station continued to suffer from high operating costs and low ad revenues. A CME spokesman told Daily Variety that the remaining partners in the station have not yet reached a decision on the future of Puls TV.

There have been recent speculation in the German press that Thomas Kirch, son of media mogul Leo Kirch and shareholder in German stations Pro7 and TV Muenchen, may be interested in buying stakes in Puls TV and FAB, another local Berlin station.

CME, which operates national stations and station groups throughout Central and Eastern Europe, also owns majority shares in regional stations in the German cities of Nuremberg, Leipzig and Dresden.

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