BERLIN — German pay web Premiere looks set to follow parent company Kirch Pay TV into bankruptcy next month if it does not obtain a cash infusion.
Creditors look likely to put its 2.4 million subscribers and rights library into a holding set up by its main banks, BayernLB and HypoVereinsbank. Digital platform, which bled $836 million last year, has seven movie channels, two sports channels and a pay-per-view outlet.
Ironically, insolvency could give Premiere’s CEO Georg Kofler greater bargaining power to revamp crippling contracts with Hollywood studios and German sport associations.
Premiere, which had until now paid the German Soccer League (DFL) €200 million ($186 million) per season for rights to its matches, is offering less than half that. Company is planning to ax 1,000 jobs to save $560 million this year.
Kirch Pay TV went belly up last week, five weeks after sister division Kirch Media.
Meanwhile, Kirch broadcaster ProSiebenSat 1 looks set to take over troubled weblet 9 Live from H.O.T. Networks for $23 million.
H.O.T. Networks is 46% owned by the Home Shopping Network, 27% by Kofler and 27% by Thomas Kirch, son of Kirch topper Leo Kirch.
Kofler and Kirch look to be exiting the home shopping business and are talking to German giant Bertelsmann about picking up their shares in H.O.T.
Move follows Home Shopping Network’s decision to stop financing H.O.T., and Kirch Media’s insolvency has limited Thomas Kirch’s ability to invest in the channel.
Conversely, the discovery of undisclosed transactions, including $132 million to Thomas Kirch for H.O.T., thwarted efforts by banks and minority shareholders to restructure Kirch Media before its insolvency last month.