Deal returns Tele Munchen to original owner
BERLIN — Herbert Kloiber on Wednesday reached an agreement with rights trader EM.TV to buy back a 45% stake in his Tele Munchen Group, giving him full control of the company he’s owned since 1977.
EM.TV acquired the stake for an estimated E385 million (now $515 million) in 1999, at the peak of the Neuer Markt boom, when the kidvidder was still flush with cash from its 1997 IPO and before its near-bankruptcy in 2001.
Kloiber had made no secret of his desire to buy back the stake. “I’ve sold Tele Munchen and bought it twice,” he recently quipped. “One of these days, I may buy it back for a third time” (Variety, Nov. 22-28).
TMG is Germany’s only remaining media group with holdings from film and TV production and broadcasting through home entertainment, film distribution and licensing. An active rights seller, it is hawking fare from a $220 million Warner Bros. film package that includes “Troy,” “Ocean’s Twelve” and the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” sequels.
TMG owns German web Tele 5 and is partnered with Disney on a joint 32% stake in RTL 2.
The sale comes after EM.TV’s lenders approved restructuring of a $628 million convertible bond that the company was unable to pay.
As part of the plan, EM.TV split its assets into two holding companies, one containing the Tele Munchen stake and earmarked for sale, the other containing EM.TV’s remaining assets. Bondholders also ended up with about 60% in the new downsized EM.TV.
EM.TV execs said the sale would have no impact on its revenues and profit figures since the TMG stake had already been separated from the company. The sale will reduce EM.TV’s total assets by $118 million.