German banks Commerzbank, HypoVereinsbank, Bayerische Landesbank, and DZ Bank have reportedly agreed to provide the crisis-ridden KirchGroup's KirchMedia with Euros 100m working capital to enable the company, which filed for Chapter 11 at the beginning of last week, to continue operations as a going concern.

This cash boost will also give KirchMedia's new management of Wolfgang van Betteray and Hans Joachim Ziems and insolvency administrator Michael Jaffe the chance to further negotiations with potential investors for a restructuring plan.

At the same time, the prospects of Kirch's pay TV unit KirchPayTV also filing for insolvency this week appeared to recede further following increasing press speculation that the circle of suitors had widened to include the Bertelsmann media concern who might now be interested in taking a minority stake in the troubled Premiere pay TV platform.

The business news service vwd pointed out that the Luxembourg-based RTL Group had preferred not comment on these reports about Bertelsmann's alleged interest in Premiere, declaring instead that the RTL Group was continuing to focus on ad-financed television, radio and TV production and suggesting that its withdrawal from France's Canal Plus and Premiere in Germany between 1998 and 2000 had been "right and remains so as well".

Vwd noted that industry sources were saying on Thursday that , "the question is no longer whether the subscription channel should continue to be operated in Germany. It is now solely a question about the financing and shareholding structure" and added that "almost everyone who hopes for a strategic advantage from a partnership or a participation is submitting an offer, including cable network operators as well".