Settlement close for Kirch


MUNICH, Germany -- Past and perhaps future German media mogul Leo Kirch is on the verge of settling his EU 1.6 billion ($2.3 billion) suit against Deutsche Bank for the sum of 600 million euros ($863.5 million), a Swiss newspaper reported Sunday.

The Zurich Sonntagszeitung cited two sources, one from Kirch's private circle and another close to Deutsche Bank. Kirch had sued the bank and its former CEO, Rolf Breuer, for causing the downfall of his media empire in 2002, after Breuer publicly questioned Kirch's creditworthiness.

Within weeks of Breuer's interview on Bloomberg TV, major Kirch subsidiaries had declared bankruptcy. Ultimately, the entire Kirch Media conglomerate -- which included Germany's biggest pay-TV operation, Premiere, and the ProSiebenSat.1 family of commercial channels -- went on the auction block.

In 2006, Germany's supreme court, the Bundesgerichtshof, upheld a lower court judgment that DB had violated client confidentiality laws and that Kirch must be compensated. It left the amount of damages to be decided by a district court; Kirch filed in Munich earlier this year.

He is now poised to make a comeback as owner of the top-league Bundesliga soccer broadcasting rights for the 2009-2015 seasons, for which he paid the German Soccer League 3 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in October.
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