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Kreiz ankles Fox Kids Europe

Exec tipped to join Saban

LONDON — Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of Fox Kids Europe, which was acquired by Disney last year, is leaving the company when his contract ends in November.

Kreiz’s replacement has yet to be announced, but is unlikely to be anyone from Fox Kids management, more likely Disney.

If FKE remains listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange Euronext it will have to have a separate chairman and CEO. But Disney could decide to delist the company and buy back the shares.

FKE is still being integrated into Walt Disney Television Intl. Sources say there is internal infighting about whether to rename the Fox Kids brand Disney. The Fox Kids name is well established in Europe — since FKE’s IPO in November 1990, Fox Kids channels have doubled their distribution and are currently broadcasting in 56 countries, reaching more than 31 million households in 17 languages.

Kreiz is remaining tight-lipped on his next move and would only confirm that there are “several opportunities in the media market that I’m thinking about,” although he intends to remain in mainstream media and be based in London.

As a personal friend of Haim Saban, who last week submitted the top bid of €2.6 billion ($2.57 billion) for KirchMedia’s assets, there’s a possibility that Kreiz could even end up working for his former boss, who gave him his FKE gig.

“We had a very successful run business [in FKE] and we also have a close personal relationship,” said Kreiz. “It is even logical that we would be both looking at things to do together in the future. We both believe there are some interesting opportunities out there right now.

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