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BERLIN — After hints earlier in the year that the Kirch Group had plans of its own for the Internet, the company has come out of the closet by forming a strategic alliance with Switzerland’s Fantastic Corp., a provider of broadband distribution technologies.

The joint venture will focus on creating commercial multimedia services capitalizing on Kirch’s strengths in the content business and the Fantastic’s experience in broadband broadcasting.

2000 launch

Further details are to be unveiled next year, when the partnership kicks in. Kirch has taken a small equity stake in Fantastic.

“We see excellent opportunities in exploring synergies between Kirch Media and Fantastic,” Kirch Vice Chairman Dieter Hahn said.

‘Innovative solutions’

Fantastic president/CEO Peter Ohnemus added: “We are excited about working with one of the most powerful players in Europe’s media market. With Kirch Media’s content and strengths and Fantastic’s capabilities in delivering multimedia content over broadband, we will be able to offer the most innovative solutions in the market today.”

Kirch rival Bertelsmann AG already has committed to developing a range of broadband services, and has grabbed opportunities presented by the Internet. It is in the process of combining the company’s core activities, such as music and publishing, with online commerce, which has become a key focus for the company.