JANUARY 26, 2002
Kirch and Murdoch talking deals over Premiere
The Kirch Group has been struggling for cash in recent months and that has led to all kinds of rumors about the role of the firm in the sport.
Other debts need to be serviced and the banks are balking and so Kirch has been looking at more inventive ways of solving his problems, largely by convincing his creditors that they should allow him to delay payment in exchange for management control and so on.
Kirch's biggest fear is that an even bigger media company will come charging in and engineer a hostile takeover of parts of his empire. This is possible - and will probably explain why Kirch is talking to Rupert Murdoch about a deal to allow Murdoch to run the Premiere TV channel if he allows Kirch a little leeway on a "put" option which Murdoch has on shares in Premiere. This option could force Kirch to pay more than a billion dollars to buy out Murdoch's share in Premiere - a move which could bring the Kirch financial structure crashing down.
Small wonder that Kirch is not doing much in F1 circles...