Biz Briefs

German media group ProSieben has posted revenues of DM 2.12 ($1.1 billion) for 1999, up 8% from the previous year. Pre-tax profits rose 7% to $171 million.

The group’s biggest breadwinner remained its TV business, which saw a climb of 6% to $1 billion. TV web Pro7 enjoyed revenues of around $830 million, an 3% increase over 1998. Gross profits were at $172 million, up 5%.

ProSieben’s other web, Kabel 1, enjoyed the biggest increase in sales, up 21% to $187 million and a 147% boost in profits to $24 million.

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BOL (Bertelsmann Online), the Internet book and music shop of German media giant Bertelsmann will go public with a listing on Frankfurt’s Neuer Markt.

BOL is planning its IPO in June at the latest. The company said the listing would speed up the expansion of its global operations.

BOL, which has more than 4.5 million books and about 500,000 music CDs in stock, is looking at eventually offering digitized books, music and films for direct download.

Bertelsmann, which generates global sales of nearly $15 billion a year, also owns 40% of Internet bookseller barnesandnoble.com.

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U.S. company Callahan Associates is in exclusive negotiations with German telecommuncations giant Deutsche Telekom for the latter’s regional cable networks in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

Callahan acquired 55% of Telekom’s cable franchise in North Rhine-Westphalia for an estimated $3 billion last week.

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German music channel Viva has taken a 44% share in Swiss music video station Swizz Music. The move still has to be approved by Swiss communications authorities before the two companies start producing programming.

For Viva, it’s the latest step in its effort to spread into neighboring European countries. Last week, the channel received permission to include Polish-language programming in its German-lingo broadcast in Poland.

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The European Union’s antitrust authorities have postponed their decision on Rupert Murdoch’s planned 24% stake in the Kirch Group’s KirchPayTV subsidiary.

The EU Commission has said concessions on the part of both companies made an extension necessary. A final decision is expected by March 21. The original date for the EU ruling had been set for March 8.

Some critics have voiced concern that the deal would create a pay TV monopoly in the hands of Murdoch and Kirch.

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