AUGUST 31, 2001
Kirch pulls out of EM.TV deal
THE future of the Formula One group of companies has been thrown into confusion following the announcement by the Kirch Group that it is pulling out of its deal to buy 16.74% of EM.TV. The two companies have been talking about the deal since Christmas and announced that it would go ahead subject to regulatory clearance. As part of the deal the two companies agreed to take up an option to buy 25% of SLEC, the Formula One holding company in addition to EM.TV's 50% holding. Those deals are believed to have gone through already so it will be a case of working out who now owns what. EM.TV has already announced its intention to sell its shareholding in Formula 1 but as Kirch is no longer going to be a shareholder in EM.TV the exact details of who owns what have yet to become clear. Whatever the case, the decision means that the future of Formula One will remain unclear for some months to come.
This is bad news for the Formula 1 teams which were hoping for a quick renegotiation of the Concorde Agreement with Kirch and Bernie Ecclestone. Now it is no longer clear who owns what.