BERLIN — Munich businessman Herbert Kloiber announced Thursday that he had bought out Disney/ABC’s 50% share in the Tele-Munchen Group in late December, leaving Kloiber the sole owner of the TV and feature film production and distribution company.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Disney, which has not disclosed the sale, on Thursday referred calls about the issue to Kloiber, who could not be reached for comment.
ABC Intl. Television chairman Herbert Granath, the architect of ABC’s European expansion and the chief backer of the U.S. broadcaster’s seven-year partnership with Tele-Munchen, also could not be reached for comment.
Kloiber acquired Tele-Munchen, then a production company, in 1977. The firm since has become the second-largest supplier of TV programming in Germany, after the Kirch Group. In addition to its association with Disney/ABC, Tele-Munchen has licensing deals with MGM, Polygram, Atlantis, Rysher, Mel Gibson’s Icon, Lakeshore, Image and MTM. It also has entered into joint ventures with Gary Levinson’s Cloud Nine and Chuck Roven’s Atlas.
Merger spelled trouble
Kloiber joined forces with Capital Cities/ABC in 1989. The partnership is believed to have been on the rocks since the merger last year of Disney and ABC. Kloiber is reported to have dissolved the union due to conflicts of interests of the partners in the core areas of Tele-Munchen’s business.
Kloiber said in a statement that Tele-Munchen will maintain a business relationship with Disney/ABC, and will continue to distribute ABC programming in German-lingo countries.
Disney/ABC also reportedly will keep a 50% share in Tele-Munchen Media, which has stakes in weblets RTL2 and TM3. It remains unclear if Kloiber received financial backing for his buyout of Disney, or if the Munich media man will seek another profile partner for Tele-Munchen.
Tele-Munchen’s theatrical distribution unit, Concorde, has a distribution partnership with Castle Rock, a unit of Time Warner. Since that fusion, the future of Concorde-Castle Rock-Turner, which had a 5.2% share of the Ger-man market last year, has been uncertain. Tele-Munchen also is active in the areas of video distribution and merchandising.