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Kirch insists ProSieben not for sale

AOL TW's Case plays down speculation

BERLIN — Cash-strapped Teutonic TV titan Kirch reiterated Friday that its ProSiebenSat 1 broadcasting group was not for sale.

“A sale of ProSiebenSat 1 is not on the agenda,” a Kirch spokesman said.

Kirch’s statement followed reports Thursday that AOL Time Warner, Walt Disney and Viacom were considering a bid for ProSiebenSat 1, Germany’s largest commercial broadcaster and Kirch’s most prized possession.

Not interested

AOL chairman Steve Case said Friday he was not interested at present in getting involved in a rescue of the German company.

ProSiebenSat 1 share prices shot up some 15% Friday morning but dropped again by around 10% to 9 euros ($7.90) after Case told reporters at a conference in Berlin that Kirch was “not an area of our focus at the moment,” adding that Kirch’s solutions for its problems did not require AOL Time Warner’s involvement.

Mountain of debt

Kirch is struggling with a debt pile of nearly $6 billion and facing credit bills and shareholder paybacks. While company is seeking to sell off major non-core assets, it has consistently stressed that free TV broadcasting group ProSiebenSat 1 would remain at Kirch, which owns 52.5% of the web; public holders of the listed shares own 36%.

Company is scheduled to hold meetings with creditors and insolvency experts today to discuss possible solutions to its financial dilemma.

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