Leo Kirch Deutsche Bank ruling delayed

German mogul's $4.7 bil suit has been postponed

BERLIN -- A ruling in German mogul Leo Kirch's $4.7 billion suit against Deutsche Bank has been postponed until March 31.

A Munich court was expected to deliver a verdict Tuesday on the mega-suit, in which Kirch is claiming billions in damages from Deutsche Bank and its ex-CEO Rolf Breuer in connection to the 2002 collapse of his KirchGroup media empire. But the court said that Judge Brigitte Pecher's workload meant she will not be able to reach a decision before the end of the month.

Kirch blames comments Breuer made in early 2002 for the collapse of KirchGroup, which was one of the largest bankruptcies in German history.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Breuer questioned Kirch's creditworthiness. At the time, Deutsche Bank was the leading lender to KirchGroup.

Kirch is demanding €2.1 billion ($2.7 billion) in compensation for the loss of KirchGroup's controlling stake in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 and an additional €1.6 billion ($2 billion) for his shares in publisher Axel Springer, which he was forced to sell when his empire collapsed.

Win or lose, Kirch already is on his way back to the media big leagues. While he failed to close on a $4 billion deal to market the rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer tournament, the octogenarian magnate has pushed through a merger between rights groups Highlight Communications and EM.Sport Media that will create one of Europe's largest film and TV production/distribution companies.
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