EM.TV kidvid, sports kick into gear

Co. plans on buying remaining stake in Junior

BERLIN — German license trader EM.TV on Wednesday unveiled its new operational strategy as it winds down the restructuring that helped it avoid bankruptcy.

Topper Werner Klatten told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting that it will focus on tyke programming and sports rights, having sold off the Jim Henson Co. as well as minority stakes in Constantin Film and Formula One motor racing.

EM.TV plans to buy the remaining 50% stake in the Junior TV children’s programming joint venture from the insolvent Kirch Media and restructure a convertible bond due in 2005.

Looking ahead

“The heavy baggage of the past has been largely disposed of, in spite of all the setbacks and delays that we had to face due to the upheaval in the media market,” said Klatten, who joined EM.TV last year following its near-bankruptcy.

“EM.TV has taken considered advantage of the far-reaching changes taking place in the media landscape in the form of targeted acquisitions and has expanded the company’s core business to achieve long-term stability.”

Among the new holdings in the company’s beefed-up sports division are assets recently acquired from Kirch Media, including shares in former weblet DSF, the online platform Sport1 and the production firm Plazamedia as well as European marketing rights for the 2006 World Cup soccer championship in Germany.

Finding niche

“Our target is to establish EM.TV as a provider of integrated total solutions for high quality sports events,” said Rainer Huether, EM.TV’s head of marketing and sales and DSF managing director.

EM.TV also holds a 45% stake in film and TV firm Tele Munchen Group, which is managed separately from the other units.

Company is expecting a loss this year on sales of 250 million euros ($287 million) as a result of high writeoffs, miscellaneous operational expenditure and interest charges.

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