Germany’s ProSiebenSat1 sells unit to Sweden’s TV4

German media group ProSiebenSat1 is to sell Scandinavian pay TV unit C More to the Swedish company TV4, ProSieben said Monday.

The €320 million deal is subject to regulatory approval, a statement said.

Several months ago ProSiebenSat1 announced it would sell some of its units to reduce debt.

“Free television is our core activity. That is why the sale of C More fits our strategy,” boss Patrick Tillieux said in a statement.

C More was part of the package acquired as part of the purchase of SBS. TV4 belongs to the family-owned Bonnier Group.

The move means that TV4 will acquire Canal Plus, which owns the broadcasting rights to a wide range of films and sporting events and is strongly placed on the market.

Canal Plus owns the rights to the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, the NHL ice hockey league as well as Sweden’s top football and ice hockey leagues.

The company also has broadcasting agreements with the vast majority of American and Nordic film companies.

“We are now establishing ourselves for the first time within the premium pay TV sector, a market that hes been developing broad distribution and strong growth for a number of years,” said TV4 CEO Jan Scherman in a statement.

Scherman believes the acquisition of C More Entertainment will reduce TV4’s reliance on advertising revenue.



German newspaper Bild prints cut-out kippa to fight anti-Semitism

German daily Bild published a cut-out-and-use kippa on Monday in a bid to fight rising anti-Semitism, after Jews were warned about the potential dangers of wearing the traditional skullcap in Germany.

German newspaper Bild prints cut-out kippa to fight anti-Semitism
A man wearing a kippa in Hesse. Photo: DPA

Over the weekend, Felix Klein, the German government's commissioner on anti-Semitism, said he “cannot advise Jews to wear the kippa everywhere all the time in Germany”, in an interview given to the Funke regional press group.

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin voiced shock at Klein's warning and said it was a “capitulation to anti-Semitism” and evidence that Jews are unsafe in Germany.

Bild, Germany's top-selling daily newspaper, waded into the debate, calling on readers to “stand in solidarity with (their) Jewish neighbours” by making “their own kippa”, bearing the star of David, to “raise the flag against anti-Semitism”.

Rejecting the warning to leave off the kippa “seven decades after the Holocaust”, Bild's chief editor Julian Reichelt wrote: “There is only one answer to that: No, it cannot be the case!

“If that is so, then we have failed in the face of our history,” he said.

Urging readers to cut out the skullcap and wear it, Reichelt stressed that “the kippa belongs to Germany.”

Germany, like other western countries, has watched with alarm as anti-Semitic and other racist hate speech and violence have increased in recent years while the political climate has coarsened and grown more

Anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year, according to Interior Ministry data which blamed nine out of 10 cases on the extreme right.

The arrival in parliament of the far-right AfD, whose leaders openly question Germany's culture of atonement for World War II atrocities, has also contributed to the change in atmosphere.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has also deplored “another form of anti-Semitism” stemming from a major asylum-seeker influx, with many coming from Muslim countries like Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.

“That the number of anti-Semitic crimes is increasing should be a cause of great concern for all of us in Germany,” Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.

“It is the task of the state to ensure that everyone can move freely with a kippa anywhere in our country and we stand by that responsibility.”

The Central Council of Jews in Germany has already issued several warnings about wearing the kippa in public.

In one prominent case last year, a 19-year-old Syrian man was convicted for assault after lashing out with his belt at an Israeli man wearing a Jewish kippa skullcap while shouting “yahudi”, Jew in Arabic.