Kirch library sale collapses

Bridgepoint Capital pulls out of deal for assets

BERLIN — The planned management buyout of international sales company Beta Film and part of the Kirch Media library has collapsed after U.K. private equity investor Bridgepoint Capital backed out of the deal.

Beta exec Jens Richter has declined to comment on the move, but Bridgepoint’s Frankfurt-based director Anthony Bunker was quoted in Germany’s Financial Times Deutschland Friday, “At some point you have to be finished with it,” commenting on the months-long negotiations with the insolvency management of the bankrupt Kirch Media.

The 50 million euro ($63 million) deal, which includes German-language and international rights to thousands of film titles and TV series, snagged on the inability of the parties to agree on terms, including specific risk guarantees that Kirch Media refused to offer, according to Bunker.

Sources close to the negotiations have not ruled out a renewed bid, however, adding that this could end up being a wake-up call to Kirch Media’s insolvency management.

The collapse of the planned buyout nevertheless leaves Beta Film with a murky future. Company will continue to operate as a Kirch Media subsidiary but its operation remains dependent on the Kirch library.

Other bidders, such as pubcaster ARD and EOS Distribution, already have distribution operations in place and are only interested in the library’s domestic and international rights. The number of bidder appears to be dwindling. Tele Muenchen Group topper Herbert Kloiber, who had a look at the library, has said he is definitely not interested in the stockpile.

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