German private media fund Victory Media has cancelled its five-year co- production agreement with EM.TV to put up $233m (DM 500m) for the production of 100 animation series for the international market with a total production volume of $700m (DM 1.5bn) over the next five years.

Victory had planned to attract investors to back a portfolio of projects including animation series being co-produced with EM.TV as well as their ISP joint venture Junior Web.

However, the fund's latest prospectus declares that "when this investment offer was planned and compiled, the management proceeded under the assumption that (') the situation at the contractual partner EM.TV had been clarified and the collaboration could be continued undisturbed. This hope has not yet been fulfilled".

Consequently, Victory informed prospective investors that, "due to the elements of uncertainty that are still existing, we will not undertake any projects with the company EM.TV & Merchandising AG" and MultiMediaFonds 19 would therefore be "exclusively" dedicated to co-producing live-action TV projects with its production partner DeAngelis Film Production & Distribution as well as an animation feature with the Barcelona-based studio ACCIO.

Meanwhile, the official closing of the deal between the KirchGroup and EM.TV, scheduled for March 15, has been put back until later this month.

Speaking to the news agency AFP, spokesperson Marion Moormann explained that the lawyers were still working on the contracts; however this did not mean that there are any problems. She predicted that media mogul Leo Kirch will officially take a 16.74% stake in the beleaguered EM.TV concern "at the end of March at the latest"

A report in today's Financial Times Deutschland quoted an EM.TV spokesperson as saying that the Munich-based company might request the German Stock Exchange for an extension of the deadline past March 31 for submitting its annual figures for 2000.

The paper suggested that this might further delay the deal with Kirch, but a Frankfurt trader told the business wire service dpa-AFX that the delay was "not dramatic" and the majority stake in the Formula One holding SLEC was "simply very attractive" for Kirch to go back on the plans to come together with EM.TV.