Further ownership changes could be on the cards for Germany's Advanced Medien according to executive board chairman Christophe Montague, who has said that he is not excluding the possibility of a friendly takeover of the company.
In an online chat with Financial Times Deutschland this week, Montague added that a takeover would only make sense "if the management had the feeling that it would lead to synergies and thus to higher corporate value". At the same time, he clearly dismissed the practicality of a hostile takeover, arguing that, in the field of media "the contacts of the management are of essential importance for the continued existence of a company".
Although not mentioning names, Montague noted during the chat that "a series of companies from the field of media had expressed an interest in coming on board the Advanced Medien Group".
Advanced recently gained a major new shareholder, local video and DVD distributor E-M-S New Media, which acquired a 24.7% stake in the company last week, with an option to take an additional 13%.
E-M-S's entry has since prompted Advanced's supervisory board to resign. In an official communique, Advanced said the board had taken this step to enable "the executive board and the new major shareholder to take into account the new shareholder structure when appointing a new supervisory board".
Advanced was recently forced to report that its target figures for fiscal 2000 would not now be reached and that forecast sales had been corrected to DM70m. The key reasons given for this were the high dollar exchange rate, substantial investments incurred in the setting up of US subsidiaries, and accounting procedures that required the costs of film productions by Advanced subsidiary UFO to be posted as expenses, while revenues would only appear in the company's results in the future.
In addition, late delivery of some films such as Heartbreakers and Ghost World meant that sales revenue expected in the fourth quarter of 2000 would not be recorded until later.
By late afternoon on December 15, Advanced's share had fallen another 5.6% to Euros2.36 - its issue price in August 1999 had been Euros5.60 with an all-time high of Euros17.99 in February 2000. New shareholder E-M-S saw its shares rise by 6.78% to Euros5.70.