Kirch files for bankruptcy protection

THE parent company of SLEC, the firm which controls the commercial rights of Formula 1, has filed for insolvency. The company will now come under the control of a court-appointed administrator who will decide whether it can be saved or whether the constituent parts will have to be sold off and the business placed in liquidation. The move, in effect, means that Leo Kirch is no longer running his empire.

The announcement is a major blow for Germany and politicians are now trying to find ways to avoid large-scale redundancies while also trying to ensure that the TV stations owned by Kirch do not fall into foreign hands.

The effects of the collapse on Formula 1 have yet to be seen but the Formula One group of companies will go on without too much trouble as The Ecclestone Family retains management control until at least the end of 2005.

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