NOVEMBER 3, 2000
EM.TV shares remain unstable
AS negotiations continue for a deal between Bernie Ecclestone, Thomas Haffa and a consortium of automobile manufacturers to secure the long term future of the commercial side of Grand Prix racing, Haffa's EM.TV company continues to have a rough ride on Frankfurt Neuer Markt stock exchange. On Wednesday the shares dropped to their lowest point yet, falling to 31.10 Euros ($26) before bouncing back by the end of the week to around 34. The shares were trading at 120 Euros earlier this year but uncertainty over the Formula 1 deal and poor accounting saw the share price collapse and it has remained low for the last month, despite analysts saying that it is now undervalued given the assets of the company.
The rising and falling of the share price in recent days could indicate that someone is quietly buying small chunks of stock in an effort to build up a large shareholding in the business without drawing attention to themselves. This could lead to a bid for the company, despite the fact that the Haffa Family still controls 51% of the business. EM.TV has considerable assets in the cartoon and merchandising worlds and its investment in Ecclestone's Formula One group of companies should bring in income of around $200m this year. Haffa would like to sell his F1 shares for $2bn but as EM.TV is now valued at only slightly over $3bn he has to be careful of a hostile takeover bid either from the car manufacturers or from a media company interested in getting its hands on Haffa's cartoon library.
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