BERLIN — KirchPayTV, the pay-TV subsid of German media giant Kirch Group, has secured a DM 3 billion ($1.56 billion) loan for the further expansion of its digital platform Premiere World.
KirchPayTV has secured a loan of $781 million from Chase Manhattan Bank as well as the proceeds of a $781 million syndicated loan provided by an unnamed German banking consortium.
The loan acquisition will not affect the ongoing talks with Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting, which is expected to take a 24% stake in Premiere World in the next few weeks.
Kirch spokesman Johannes Schmitz couldn’t say exactly when the deal would be finalized, adding only that an announcement would come soon. BSkyB is reportedly set to pay just over $1 billion for the share.
Murdoch’s investment is expected to boost Premiere World with live broadcasts of Champions League soccer matches. Murdoch’s German weblet TM3 holds the German broadcasting rights to Champions League games.
In a move likely to attract more subscribers to Premiere World, additional live broadcasts of next season’s Bundesliga soccer matches are likely going to the pay-TV platform’s two sports channels as well as its pay-per-view service.
The Bundesliga free-TV rights are up for grabs in summer 2000.
The new financing and investment should secure the future expansion and development of Premiere World.
KirchPayTV has been beset with huge start-up losses. In addition, Kirch has to pay back an $860 million bank loan it got for the 45% stake in the original Premiere analog pay-TV service that it purchased from media group CLT-Ufa.
In related news, SAT1 and Kirch free-TV sports channel DSF have merged their online sport coverage with that of German newspaper publisher Axel Springer, creating Sport 1 (www.sport1.de), the biggest German-language sports Web site.