EM.TV & Merchandising CEO Thomas Haffa has said that he would consider resigning if he fails to restore the confidence of analysts and investors in the troubled TV production and merchandising concern.
In a hard-hitting interview by Hans-Juergen Jakobs and Armin Mahler for this week's Der Spiegel weekly magazine, Haffa said: "We are trying to restore [the confidence] by delivering proper figures and repairs. Should this not succeed, then I would clearly have to think about the consequences."
Only a week ago, his brother Florian Haffa, who resigned as chief financial officer in October, also vacated his post as deputy CEO "with immediate effect" because he no longer enjoyed the trust of investors and shareholders.
Thomas Haffa also admitted that the company's furious expansion over the last 12 months had slipped out of the management's hands: "During the acquisition phase we made the mistake of not keeping up with operations as well as we should have given the scale of investments," he said, adding that, in the case of The Jim Henson Company: "I do not rule out that in the euphoria we perhaps paid a little too much".
Haffa suggested that in the future EM.TV "must concentrate again on our old strengths and virtues and simply do our business". At the same time, he rejected the interviewers' suggestion that EM.TV's troubles had depressed the whole of the Neuer Markt and dragged other media stocks down with it: "The Neuer Markt went down before us. We didn't hold it up".
EM.TV's shares went into freefall earlier this month after the company revised its annual profit forecast from $236m (DM525m) to $22m (DM50m). On Friday, bankers Merrill Lynch delivered a damning conclusion of the company's current health, declaring that "the story is over" and suggesting a "neutral" rating was appropriate for its share's short and long-term valuation. The company is now being investigated by the Munich state prosecutor's office after several suits were filed by shareholders.