Battle waged over TM3

Murdoch angling for Kloiber's stake

BERLIN — War is waging over tiny German channel TM3, with the two shareholders, Rupert Murdoch and entrepreneur Herbert Kloiber, both angling to take full control.

According to reports in Friday’s issue of the Suddeutsche Zeitung, the global mogul is bidding to buy out Kloiber’s 34% stake in order to sell the channel to the rival Kirch Group and free up the coveted Champion’s League soccer rights to sell to other webs.

Kirch plans to use TM3’s frequency to launch its news web N24.

Divesting rights

If Murdoch triumphs, the TM3-held Champion’s League free TV rights could then be sold back to commercial station RTL, with pay rights going to the Kirch Group’s Premiere World, in which Murdoch now holds a 24% stake.

According to the report, Kloiber is planing to team up with ally SBS Broadcasting, a Nasdaq-listed pan-European station group, to buy the mogul back out. This would give SBS its first interest in Germany.

Since Murdoch bought a stake in Premiere World late last year, it’s not surprising that he is divesting his other main broadcasting stake in Germany, a 49.9% holding in weblet Vox.

Whether German media watchdogs will allow the transfer of the frequency to N24 is questionable, with a long line of stations bidding to step up their cable presence in the overcrowded German systems.

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