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Final call for Kirch library

Mojto and Telepool bid for 12,000 library titles

BERLIN — Munich-based producer-distributor Jan Mojto and pubcaster ARD’s rights division Telepool reportedly are in the final round of bidding for the last 12,000 titles of the Kirch library, in a E30 million ($40 million) deal.

The insolvent Kirch Media, the core TV and rights business of one-time media mogul Leo Kirch that went belly up in 2002, is expected to close the deal in coming weeks.

German rights to about 2,000 of the most attractive titles went to former Kirch broadcasting group ProSiebenSat 1 as part of its acquisition by Haim Saban in 2003.

Kirch Media retains pay TV rights to those titles and will sell them to the highest bidder.

Local distrib Kinowelt, which makes most of its revenue from DVD distribution, is said to be a front-runner to pick up Kirch’s remaining home entertainment rights.

Last year former Kirch Media exec Mojto took over Beta Film, Kirch’s international sales division, along with international rights to thousands of hours of film and series from the library.

In a separate acquisition from Kirch, he nabbed Unitel, a production company and catalogue of classical music programs spanning 40 years. Last month Unitel inked a worldwide DVD distribution deal with Universal Music’s classics label Deutsche Grammophon to release the entire catalogue.

The first releases this month include three operas conducted by Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein’s Gustav Mahler cycle and “The Making of West Side Story.”

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