No perch for Kirch

Founder snubs bankruptcy consulting pact

COLOGNE — Kirch founder Leo Kirch and his longtime deputy Dieter Hahn have turned down a reported six-figure offer to become consultants to bankrupt Kirch Media’s insolvency administrators.

Kirch Media’s acting managing director Wolfgang von Betteray said Wednesday that essential elements of the contract could not be agreed upon. Apparently, the pair did not want to give their services exclusively.

Von Betteray said the negotiations were amicable and that he expects further cooperation from Kirch and Hahn in the future.

Hahn will resign from the supervisory board of Kirch’s ProSiebenSat 1 Media, Germany’s biggest television broadcaster, along with Jan Mojto, Thomas Kirch and Klaus Piette.

They will be replaced by von Betteray; Kirch Media managers Fred Kogel and Norbert Deigner; and creditor Commerzbank’s Wolfgang Hartmann.

ProSiebenSat 1 Media told the Frankfurt exchange that because of Kirch Media’s bankruptcy filing last month it will shelve a plan to introduce a single share. Kirch Media, which owns 53% of ProSiebenSat 1, was forced to retract its approval of the single-share plan so as not to hurt its creditors, the company said. Kirch Media is $1.6 billion in debt.

“Kirch Media is in no position to make a decision about the conversion of preferred stock,” a ProSiebenSat 1 spokesman said, adding it will reschedule a shareholder vote on the plan at the “earliest opportunity.” ProSiebenSat 1 shareholders were supposed to vote July 9.

Teleclub stake sold

Separately, bankrupt sister division Kirch Pay TV has sold its stake in the Swiss pay web Teleclub as it concentrates on core activities.

It sold its 40% to the web’s partners, Ringier Medializenz and Chriteco, for a reported $3.8 million, although it did not disclose the sale price.

Teleclub was the first pay web available to German subscribers when Kirch took a stake in 1988. When Kirch started Premiere years later, it transferred its German subscribers to the new web. Teleclub has 80,000 subscribers, Premiere 2.4 million.

(Bloomberg contributed to this report.)