Merger rumors swirling around Kirch subsids

Declines comment about ProSiebenSat.1Media

LONDON — KirchMedia, the core subsidiary of German media giant Kirch Group, and ProSiebenSat.1Media, the company’s TV broadcaster subsidiary, have declined to comment on local rumors of a merger.

Reportedly due to be announced next week, the deal would bring together Kirch webs ProSieben, Sat.1, Kabel.1 and news channel N24 with KirchMedia, home to Kirch’s licensing and production businesses.

The move continues Kirch’s aim of tying its commercial TV interests ever closer to the company. It also could make KirchMedia more attractive in the event of a proposed IPO by 2003.

For the first time, last year commercial TV represented the biggest revenue source at KirchMedia.

Sport1 stake upped

Kirch Group also has upped its stake in online sports portal Sport1 by 25.5%, giving it a majority stake in the fledgling entity.

Sport1 was founded at the end of 1999 and holds a 70% share of the market for providing sports content over the Internet. Kirch channels DSF and Sat.1 each own 25.5% of the channel.

“Sport1 is by far the leading sports site, and it represents an important expansion of the Kirch Group’s TV sports programs. In the future we will integrate Sport1 even more effectively into our spectrum of sports offers,” said Alexander Liegel, director of sports rights at KirchMedia.

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