Leo Kirch, who built a German media empire through acquiring rights to movies, TV series and sports, only to see it crumble into the biggest bankruptcy in Germany since World War II, died today. He was 84. Kirch was a co-founder in the 1980s of the German commercial network Sat.1, which eventually merged with ProSieben Media to become one of the biggest broadcasting companies in Europe. At its peak, the media magnate’s Kirch Holding GmbH was valued at $5 billion — it had rights to more than 63,000 films, TV shows and sporting events, including two World Cup soccer tournaments. But a foray into the untapped German pay-TV field in the mid-1990s started his company’s downfall. He poured more than $3 billion into the service, Premiere World, which never took off. His financing dried up, and the company filed for court protection in 2002. Following the collapse, Kirch filed a web of lawsuits for billions of dollars against Deutsche Bank and its former CEO Rolf Breuer, who Kirch claims started his company’s decline with negative comments about it during a TV interview. Most of those many lawsuits are still pending.
R.I.P. Leo Kirch
What's Hot on Deadline
'Fate Of The Furious' Drives Five Wide Releases Off The Road With $38.6M Second Weekend - Sunday AM Update
'Fate Of The Furious' Fires Up $745M Offshore, $908M WW; Tops 'Transformers' In China - International Box Office
Latest Film News
- Dennis Rodman Runs Amok In Colin Hanks’ ‘The Amazing Adventures Of Wally And The Worm’…
- ‘Dear Basketball’ Scribe Kobe Bryant On A Career Built “Piece By Piece” And Life After Basketball…
- Docs 'Citizen Jane' & 'Jeremiah Tower' Rule Quiet Weekend – Specialty B.O.
- Deadline Studio at Tribeca 2017 – Day 3 – Andie MacDowell, Joseph Fiennes, Elisabeth Moss, Kobe Bryant, Dan Stevens…
- ‘Fate Of The Furious’ Fires Up $745M Offshore, $908M WW; Tops ‘Transformers’ In China – International…
- Max Winkler’s Teenage Comedy ‘Flower’ Plants Itself At The Orchard – Tribeca