Kirch taking over Sat.1

Verlag to sell stake for $770 mil

BERLIN — The Kirch Group looks set to acquire 41% in broadcaster SAT.1 from German publisher Axel Springer Verlag and assume 100% ownership of the web.

According to German press reports, Axel Springer is planning to sell its stake for DM1.6 billion ($770 million)-$1.2 billion.

Kirch has confirmed that it is in talks with the publisher about SAT.1 but has said that no official agreement has been reached; Axel Springer said that negotiations are in their final stages.

According to reports from German weeklies Focus and Spiegel, Axel Springer’s supervisory board will be discussing the deal this week, but a sale will likely not take effect until 2001 for tax reasons.

Kirch has been seeking to consolidate its various channels, which also include ProSieben, Kabel 1, news channel N24 and sports weblet DSF, in order to form a functioning family of channels, which can better cooperate on advertising and programming.

For Axel Springer, the sale would give the publisher money to develop its Internet and multimedia business.

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