Banks take control of Premiere

BANKS owed money by the Kirch empire will shortly take over the pay TV station Premiere by converting loans of $745m in the group into equity. The banks will thus take control of Premier. The TV station is being restructured at the moment and hopes to make a profit in 2004. This will wipe out the debts and the banks have agreed to loan more money to help get the business running successfully.

The Bayerische Landesbank is one of the organizations involved and hopes to do the same shortly with the Formula One group of companies. The bank and US firms Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan say that they want to swap debts of $1.6bn into a 75% stake in SLEC, the Formula One group holding company. Once that is achieved the banks can start talking about what happens next.

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