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Thu 9 May 2002 04:00 AM

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KirchPayTV files for bankruptcy

Another wing of the Kirch media empire goes bust, but KirchPayTV says the unit that owns the rights to the World Cup will stay in business.

KirchPayTV has become the latest part of Germany's Kirch Group media empire to file for bankruptcy, submitting an insolvency petition to a court in Munich. Taurus Holding (formerly known as Kirch Holding), the majority shareholder of KirchPayTV, had previously committed to providing temporary financing to KirchPayTV until June 30. However, KirchPayTV management revealed that Taurus Holding is unable to continue to make funding support available to KirchPayTV and none of the other existing shareholders, banks or new investors were willing to provide funding to KirchPayTV to avoid an insolvency filing. KirchPay TV owns the loss making Premiere World channel, whose debts were at the heart of the media group's difficulties. Premiere World owns the broadcasting rights to this year's World Cup finals, which kicks off later this month. However, a spokesman for KirchPayTV has said Premiere will not be affected by the bankruptcy. Kirch Group is thought to have debts of 6.5 billion euros, though as a privately held company it does not have to publish its accounts. Kirch Media, founded by 75-year old media magnate Leo Kirch, became Germany's biggest corporate failure since World War II after it could not meet its debts.

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