Premiere posts $177 mil Games bid

Kofler promises main events will be free-to-air

BERLIN — German digital pay TV platform Premiere is reportedly offering e150 million ($177 million) for German and Austrian rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games.

The ambitious deal would also include Internet and mobile rights. In an interview with German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Premiere topper Georg Kofler said the games would be broadcast on up to 20 channels, with the main events broadcast free-to-air.

But Premiere, which generated $1.2 billion in revenue but drew a net loss of $257 million last year, would have to find cash for the deal. Kofler said he would expedite plans to float Premiere on the stock market in 2005.

That could be a tough sell, however, despite radical restructuring that has narrowed losses and increased subscribers to some 3 million. Escalating losses at Germany’s only nationwide pay TV platform triggered the collapse of former parent Kirch Group two years ago.

“For a well-prepared IPO you need between nine and 12 months,” Kofler said.

Additional revenue to the tune of $35 million could come from the sale of three of Premiere’s 31 digital channels.

Among potential buyers for the outlets are commercial broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat 1 as well as Warners and Sony.

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