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EM.TV-Kirch deal may not happen

AS the investigation into share trading at EM.TV continues, the German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting that the company boss Thomas Haffa sold around $20m worth of the company's stock in December, possibly in contravention an agreement that the stock would not be sold for a specified period. If the claims prove to be true, Haffa is likely to get into trouble with the German authorities.

For the moment, however, there has been no official word of any charges against Haffa and the situation of the company remains much as before with a tentative agreement with Leo Kirch for the sale of most of EM.TV's shareholding in the Formula One group of companies.

An EM.TV spokesman has now confirmed that the deal with Kirch is only "a non-binding deal memo". This means that either EM.TV or Kirch can withdraw from the negotiations at any given moment. The spokesman said that although it has been announced that EM.TV will sell its F1 stake to Kirch for $550m the deal is unlikely to be finalized before mid-February at the earliest and much will depend on the current investigations into the company.

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