At a Wednesday morning price of Euros8.30, EM.TV & Merchandising's shares are so far below their peak as to be almost unrecognisable. They are 93% below their 2000 peak of Euros119.5.
But EM.TV's demise represents more than the fall from grace of one overly ambitious firm. The company was one of the first to take advantage of the Frankfurt's second tier stockmarket, the Neuer Markt, and rapidly infused it with some glamour and real sense of blue sky possibilities. It paved the way for some 30-plus film and TV companies to go public and give Germany the best capitalised film industry in Europe.
EM.TV used its vaulting stock to mount an acquisition charge that inevitably went wrong. Whether it was the Jim Henson purchase or the curious roundabout buy of a stake in SLEC that was the deal too far remains open to debate.
Either way, EM.TV's downfall is now sadly humdrum for a Neuer Markt tarnished by uncontrolled finances and executive resignations. Florian Haffa, deputy CEO and the finance director responsible for the astonishing tenfold overstatement of profits joins a list of departed Neuer Markt finance directors from Edel Music, Suess MicroTec and Singulus Technologies. Other high profile departures this year have included CEOs from WizCom Technologies, Infomatec, Gigabell, Primacom, CPU Softwarehouse and T-Online International.
But for anyone who bought EM.TV shares on flotation in October 1997 and held on to them ever since there is still a crumb of comfort; they are still up 2300%, or 23 times the adjusted launch price of Euros0.36.