Constantin Medien files lawsuit against ex-board chairman Hahn
Constantin Medien, the German media group, is taking legal action against Dieter Hahn, the former chairman of its supervisory board, and his companies, seeking at least €1 million ($1.23 million) in damages.
Constantin Medien, which is now owned by Switzerland’s Highlight Communications, appointed a special representative to examine claims for damages against Hahn, a renowned German media executive, and Constantin Medien’s former chief executive Fred Kogel.
As a result, a lawsuit is being filed against against Hahn and his companies KF 15 and DHV at the Munich Regional Court. The action does not extend to Kogel.
Hahn is accused of “violation of duties in connection with previous Annual General Meetings (AGMs) of Constantin Medien.”
The company, whose assets include German sports broadcaster Sport1, the Sport1 Media sports media marketing arm and production company Plazamedia, added that it will be seeking “assertion of claims for damages with a preliminary amount in dispute of at least €1 million.”
Constantin Medien is taking action over general meetings held in 2016 at which shareholder Bernhard Burgener, the chairman of Highlight Communications, was said to have been excluded from important votes.
Hahn and Kogel, who replaced Burgener as chief executive of Constantin Medien, had controversially moved to sell the media group’s film unit and focus on sports activities, but Burgener challenged the results of the annual general meeting towards the end of the year, and Hahn’s role as chairman of the supervisory board.
Hahn, the former right-hand man of the late Leo Kirch, the German media mogul, had been looking to take over Constantin Medien and Highlight Communications, which owns Team Marketing, an agency partner of Uefa.
However, Burgener, who is also president of top Swiss soccer club FC Basel, emerged victorious in the power struggle last year as Hahn stood down, and Kogel was dismissed.
Earlier this year, Highlight Communications was successful in its takeover bid for Constantin Medien, having teamed up with its financial partner Studhalter Investment.
Highlight Communications was until recently a subsidiary of Constantin Medien until the latter had to give up its majority as the Swiss company had increased its capital, albeit Constantin Medien remained a shareholder, with an interest of 32.7 per cent.
Last September, Constantin Medien and Highlight Communications reached a settlement to resolve the legal row between the two companies.