Kirch Group

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Kirch Group
Native name
Founded1955; 67 years ago (1955) in Bavaria, Germany
FounderLeo Kirch
Defunct2002 (2002)
HeadquartersBavaria, Germany

KirchGruppe (KirchGroup) was a German media group founded by Leo Kirch (1926–2011) in the 1960s. By 2000, it controlled a 52.5 percent stake in what would become the country's biggest broadcaster.[1]

The group collapsed in 2002 largely due to the debts associated with the purchase of sports rights for its television channels and the launch of pay-TV services.

The holding company for the group was Taurus Holding which had three major subsidiaries, KirchMedia, Kirch PayTV and KirchBeteiligung. KirchMedia declared bankruptcy on 8 April 2002, followed by KirchPayTV on 8 May 2002 and finally KirchBeteiligung on 12 June 2002 along with Taurus Holding.

Alwaleed bought 3.19 percent of KirchMedia in 1999, and 3.3 percent of KirchPayTV for $150 million. [2]


KirchMedia's main assets were KirchSport, which held the TV rights to the World Cup and other sports; 52.5% of ProSiebenSat.1 Media, an owner of main satellite channels; the DSF sports channel; TaurusProduktion, a film and TV production group; and TaurusLizenz, owner of fiction and media medium rights.[3]

KirchMedia declared bankruptcy on 8 April 2002.[3]


KirchPayTV was majority owned by Taurus Holding, however BSkyB held 22% along with Lehman Brothers (2.4%) and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed (3.12%). The company's main asset was the Premiere pay-TV network.

KirchPayTV filed for bankruptcy on 8 May 2002.[4]


KirchBeteiligung's main assets were its majority share of Formula One's commercial rights (through Speed Investments) and its 40.33% stake in the media company, Axel Springer AG.[5]

KirchBeteiligung filed for bankruptcy on 12 June 2002, along with the Taurus Holding parent company of the Kirch Group.[5]


  1. ^ Schmid, John (29 June 2000). "Kirch Group Secures Grip on German TV". New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  2. ^ Khan, Riz (2005). Alwaleed, Businessman Billionaire Prince. New York: HarperCollins. p. 136. ISBN 9780060850302.
  3. ^ a b "Kirch declares itself insolvent". BBC News. BBC. 2002-04-08. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  4. ^ "KirchPayTV goes bust". BBC News. BBC. 2002-05-08. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  5. ^ a b "Changing fortunes". Daily Telegraph. 2002-06-13.