Teutonic media mogul Leo Kirch is getting support from U.S. investors.
U.S. investment group MarCap has upped its stakes in EM.Sport Media to 5% and in Swiss entertainment group Highlight Communications to 9% after Kirch unveiled plans for a new sports media empire. Kirch holds shares in both companies and is expected to bring them together to build a major sports rights and production powerhouse.
In September, Kirch agreed to sell his 36.4% stake in Highlight to EM.Sport Media in a deal valued at e163 million ($230 million). In exchange, Kirch got an 11.5% stake in EM.Sport and some $170 million in cash. The swap leaves Kirch as EM.Sport’s biggest shareholder, while EM.Sport becomes the largest shareholder in Highlight. Latter owns Swiss sports rights company Team.
Kirch has a marketing deal with the German Football League that runs from 2009-15, and EM.Sport looks set to play a major role in covering Bundesliga soccer from 2009.
“Kirch is building a powerful sports company. That’s why we’re strengthening our investments,” MarCap prexy-CEO David Marcus told German financial daily Handelsblatt.