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Tele Munchen says ’04 a record year

Group boosts revs by 5.5%

BERLIN — Tele Munchen Group quadrupled its profit in 2004, which it claims was the most successful of its 35 years in business.

The group boosted its revenues 5.5% to E226 million ($289 million), and achieved earnings before interest and taxes of $20 million.

TMG’s business was driven by its core activity, the license biz, last year making a remarkable catch when it outbid RTL for a large film rights package from Warner Bros. including two sequels of “Lord of the Rings,” and three of “Harry Potter,” for an estimated $200 million.

WB buy blooms

According to company co-topper Bernd Schloetterer, the acquisition has proved worthwhile, with so far packages resold to one pubcaster and two commercial webs. “Items like ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘The Cell’ have already appeared on ProSieben last year,” he said, adding that its catalog was a basis for further growth in coming years.

TMG’s other activities include theatrical distribution, production, home entertainment, interests in a theater and a post-production chain, two fully owned TV weblets, and a participation in RTL II. Although he highlighted the broadcaster’s profit of more than $77 million last year, TMG co-topper Herbert Kloiber had repeatedly attacked its policy of focusing on reality formats, a feud that earlier this month led to the exit of the station’s topper, Josef Andorfer.

Kloiber denied reports that he was in the process of selling TMG to the RTL Group.

“There is absolutely no substance to this totally invented story,” he told Daily Variety in reaction to a report in several publications stating that Kloiber and RTL Group have agreed on a transfer of TMG this year. “There were no negotiations in this matter, nor any deals signed.”

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