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Kirch bidders unclear at deadline

UBS Warburg has extended the time twice this week

BERLIN — September 13th is the deadline for final bids on German entertainment giant Kirch Media but the definitive constellation of buyers was still unclear Thursday evening.

German publishing groups Axel Springer, Heinrich Bauer and Spiegel, along with HypoVereinsbank, are said to have joined the Sony/Commerzbank consortia for a new combined offer.

The publishers failed to make the cut for the second round of bidding because their $1.4 billion was too low.

Sony/Commerzbank reportedly bid $2.2 billion, while producer Haim Saban and French group TF1 made the highest offer with $2.5 billion.

Former Kirch Media shareholders are also in the running for the fallen TV giant.

In a strange twist, ProSiebenSat.1, the TV broadcasting unit of Kirch Media — which is part of the assets that the consortia are bidding for — may try to buy its parent company’s vast film library, which is said to be worth about $500 million.

Mediaset interested

While Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset is not in the running, the company has said it remains interested in ProSiebenSat.1 and would buy if the price were right.

UBS Warburg, which is handling the sale of Kirch Media, has extended the deadline twice this week to give bidders more time to hammer out new partnerships for joint offers.

Even today’s deadline may not be written in stone and the “real” cutoff point may not be until Sept. 18, when Kirch Media creditors are meeting to review the final offers.

Meanwhile, a Munich court has upheld Springer’s injunction against Leo Kirch prohibiting the former Kirch topper from selling his 40% stake in the publisher without explicit approval.

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