EM.Sport Media acquires more of Highlight

Rights group buys about 2.8 mil shares from Burgener

COLOGNE, Germany -- Munich-based rights group EM.Sport Media has acquired another 6% of Switzerland's Highlight Communications, purchasing some 2.8 million Highlight shares from Highlight president and future EM CEO Bernhard Burgener for about $26 million.

The move boosts EM's stake in Highlight from 37.6% to 43.6%. As part of the deal, Burgener also will receive a 2.95% stake in EM. EM is planning similar deals to buy out the rest of Highlight management board, which should increase EM's Highlight stake to about 47%.

The buyouts are part of a larger plan by German mogul Leo Kirch to merge EM and Highlight, creating a Pan-European sports rights giant.

The Burgener deal comes as Kirch's sports marketing group Sirius, which has a 3 billion euro ($4.8 billion) deal to market the rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer league, is facing roadblocks set up by the German anti-cartel authority, which wants to restrict how Kirch sells his soccer by forcing Sirius to provide free-to-air channels with key rights.