Kirch eyes Russian web

Report: Disagreement in price holds up sale

BERLIN — Kirch Media is reportedly looking to take a stake in Russian broadcaster TV-6. If deal closes, it will be the first foreign media company in Russia’s TV market.

Local media mogul Boris Beresowskij is set to sell Kirch Media 20% of his 75% stake in the web, according to a report in Tuesday’s Financial Times Deutschland.

While the paper says the deal is all but signed, disagreements remain about price. TV-6 execs have reportedly asked more than $100 million, but Kirch is said to be offering half.

Munich-based Kirch Media also wants the broadcaster to reinvest some of the purchase sum in Kirch-owned programming, the FTD adds.

Kirch could not be reached for comment. In separate news, Kirch Media’s parent company Kirch Group and partner EM.TV are stacking the board of Formula One racing marketing firm SLEC. Six of the eight new members will be appointed by the two media companies.

In addition to EM.TV topper Thomas Haffa and Kirch deputy chief Dieter Hahn, the groups have also set former Formula One official Walter Thoma and Etienne de Villiers, former managing director of Disney’s European operations.

Thoma’s appointment is seen as a gesture to thaw relations with Formula One topper Bernie Ecclestone and leading carmakers who are suspicious of Kirch’s motives. They fear it will move the racing event to its pay TV channel.

Thoma, a former exec at Phillip Morris, was instrumental in pushing for the tobacco company’s involvement in Formula One races as an advertising sponsor. He was named nonexecutive director of Formula One Holdings by Ecclestone in 1997 to oversee the company’s planned IPO, which was scrapped.

EM.TV and Kirch are to appoint two other SLEC board members in the next few days.

Kirch recently took control of 75% of SLEC through the rescue of debt-laden kidvidder EM.TV.

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