Although bankruptcies in the TMT sector are flowing thick and fast, the collapse of the media empire built up by Leo Kirch over a 42‐year period is arguably the most dramatic. Protected by its links with German business and financial institutions as well as politicians, the KirchGruppe appeared to be impervious to the periodic downturns in business conditions. However, not only did the “German” way of doing business behind closed doors come under increasing pressure by the end of the 1990s, but the KirchGruppe acquired enemies such as the Springer family as well as shareholders, such as Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi, who were intent upon expanding their own empires. Because he assumed that his empire was well‐protected via his associates, Leo Kirch took excessive risks, not least the issuance of put options which, if exercised, could bring down his empire – which in the event was what transpired earlier this year.
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