LONDON — German media kingpin the Kirch Group will merge TV subsidiary ProSiebenSat 1 Media with its core holding, KirchMedia, by the end of 2002.
Move, revealed Thursday, would speed up Kirch’s access to fresh capital via a share issue on the German stock exchange, as the TV subsid is already listed.
Ailing pay TV operation Premiere World has put a huge financial strain on the company. Kirch could face demands from Premiere partner Rupert Murdoch next year for the return of his investment in the jointly run venture.
Meanwhile, KirchMedia shareholders such as the investment houses Lehman Brothers and Capital Research may back out of their stake in view of the postponement of KirchMedia’s IPO, planned for this year. These companies now own 15% of KirchMedia.
Liberty Media topper John Malone has told a German daily he may be interested in buying a stake in Kirch.