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MEDIA Germany

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Haim Saban buys KirchMedia


- American producer goes it alone & buys bankrupt German media empire for a reported Euros2 billion. TF1 may board later

History was made with the ratification on Monday 16 March of American animated film producer Haim Saban’s purchase of bankrupt German media empire KirchMedia for a reported Euros2bn, since this is the first time that an American company has entered the traditionally protectionist German media market.
The news comes after a fortnight of frenetic negotiations that saw the only other bidder, Heinrich Bauer, bow out late last week. Initially, Saban was in partnership on this deal with French private broadcaster, TF1, but they were forced to drop out because of their failure to raise their reported share of the deal (Euros400m). Saban however has given the French time to try to get the wherewithal to buy a share of TV network ProSieben (who own ProSieben, Sat1, Kabel1 and N24). For the moment, an American joins Germany’s other leading private TV network, Bertelsmann’s RTL in competition with the country’s two state-owned broadcasters, ARD and ZDF.
Haim Saban is now the proud owner of KirchMedia’s extensive library of 13,000 feature films and some 3,600 TV series and programmes which are already whetting the appetites of media giants like Pearson and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

(Translated from French)

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