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EM.TV taps Kirch exec in shakeup

Huther appointed to sales, marketing chairman

BERLIN — Fallout from the pact between German media giant Kirch and cash-strapped kidvidder EM.TV continues as former Kirch exec Rainer Huther has been appointed EM.TV’s chairman of sales and marketing.

Hans Peter Vriens ankled the post Monday, citing differences over company strategy.

Huther is responsible for international TV sales, merchandising and marketing as well as online activities. Meanwhile, Kirch has revealed it has first refusal on EM.TV’s shares in Formula One racing, giving opponents more ground to fear its influence on the sport.

The clause is part of a recent deal that gave Kirch 17% in the kidvidder and 25% of the voting stock. Kirch also took half of EM.TV’s 50% stake in Formula One racing and backed EM.TV in exercising a call option last week, which gave it a 75% stake in Formula One.

Deal has been heavily contested by car manufacturers and other parties that fear the broadcasting giant could control the series.

An EM.TV spokesman said that topper Thomas Haffa does not intend to sell his stake.

Separately, Kirch and national pubcasters ARD and ZDF struck a deal Tuesday for the rights to World Cup soccer to be held in Japan and South Korea in 2002 and Germany in 2006.

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