BERLIN — Rupert Murdoch is buying out fellow shareholder Herbert Kloiber’s stake in German channel tm3 for $170 million, marking the end of what was an expensive experiment in German television history.
Kloiber’s exit from tm3 means that there is one less independent voice in the German terrestrial TV market, which is heavily dominated by the Kirch Group and its rival Bertelsmann.
Murdoch will apparently turn the channel into one devoted to lifestyle and fitness. Up until now, the web has not made money.
Murdoch acquired the initial 66% stake in tm3 from Kloiber in late 1998 in line with his plans to step up his presence in the German terrestrial TV market.
But Murdoch subsequently acquired a 24% stake in pay TV service Premiere World late last year. That move prompted him to sell his stake in weblet Vox — the first indication that the global mogul had shifted his sights more toward the fledgling pay TV business.
Kloiber turns to feevee
Kloiber is now set to turn his attention to the pay TV market together with cable powerhouse UPC, which is reportedly planning to invest billions in the German pay TV market.
Kloiber’s company Tele-Munchen still owns a stake in RTL2, which Bertelsmann’s TV subsid CLT/Ufa is trying to acquire. Kloiber could not be reached for comment.
The station’s prime asset, the Champion’s League soccer matches, which was acquired last year in a bid to shift the channel away from a purely women’s lifestyle niche, will now go to broadcaster RTL and to the Kirch Group’s pay TV web Premiere World.