New York-based investment bank Lehman Brothers is planning to acquire a 3% stake in Leo Kirch's pay-TV holding Kirch PayTV. The holding controls the digital platform Premiere World and Swiss pay channel Teleclub, among others.

According to a report in the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, the investment would cost Lehman Brothers about DM360m ($179m). This transaction would follow the bank's acquisition last May of a 3.19% stake in Kirch's other holding Kirch Media, which controls his activities in rights trading, free TV and production.

The Saudi prince El Walid, who also acquired 3.19% of Kirch Media last year, is reportedly similarly interested in taking a stake in Kirch PayTV.

Opening up these holdings to outside investors is regarded as part of preparations for the stockmarket flotation of Kirch Media by 2001 and Kirch PayTV by 2003.