BERLIN — French TV group TF1 has confirmed it’s bid for the bankrupt KirchMedia, the core TV and rights division of the likewise insolvent German media giant Kirch Group.
Company declined to say how much it was offering for the company, which includes Germany’s biggest broadcasting group, ProSiebenSat.1, film and sports rights and international distributor Beta Film. Local estimates put the figure at around €2 billion ($1.98 billion).
Investment bank UBS Warburg, which is handling the KirchMedia sale, is reportedly demanding official offers from interested investors before it allows them a closer examination of KirchMedia’s financial state.
Other possible bidders include Viacom, Sony, NBC, billionaire roducer Haim Saban, Teutonic publishers Axel Springer and Heinrich Bauer and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, all of whom are said to have made the cut for a second round of bidding.
Ties that bind
Meanwhile, at ProSiebenSat.1’s AGM Tuesday, chairman Urs Rohner said the company would continue its close relationship with KirchMedia and continue to buy programming from its parent company. ProSiebenSat.1 has “profited very much from its close ties to KirchMedia,” he said, adding that KirchMedia provided 41% of its content.
Assessing the TV advertising market, Rohner said he did not reckon with an improvement before the fourth quarter. ProSiebenSat.1 is expecting a 4% drop in sales for the first half of 2002.
Rohner also expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of leading youth-oriented network Pro7, adding that the web would increase the amount of new series in primetime.
And ProSiebenSat.1 announced that KirchMedia chief exec Wolfgang van Betteray had replaced former Kirch deputy CEO Dieter Hahn as head of its supervisory board. Other new boardmembers include KirchMedia deputy CEO Fred Kogel; KirchMedia exec Norbert Deigner; and Wolfgang Hartmann, executive boardmember of Kirch creditor Commerzbank, who replace Thomas Kirch, son of former group topper Leo Kirch, Jan Mojto, former deputy chief exec at KirchMedia and Klaus Piette, head of corporate planning at Kirch umbrella holding company TaurusHolding, all of whom resigned last month.