Kirch deal kicked into touch

German soccer league pulls out of $4.4 bil deal

BERLIN -- Leo Kirch has been sent back to the bench. The defunct media mogul's hopes of rebuilding his empire were put on hold late Thursday night when the German soccer league pulled out of its 3 billion euro ($4.4 billion) marketing deal with Kirch's Sirius group.

Citing regulatory hurdles to a Kirch deal, league boss Reinhard Rauball said Friday that the rights for the 2009 season and beyond were again up for sale. The league's asking price is at least $600 million a season. The Kirch deal would have paid out an average of about $730 million a season.

French group Sportfive had reportedly put in a 11th hour bid for the Bundesliga rights but did not have sufficient bank collateral to close the deal.

Kirch and Sirius could still get back in the game. The new round of bidding starts in October. Expect Leo and Co. to return with a whole new game plan.
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