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In a rare interview shortly before his business collapsed in 2002, Kirch suggested that Murdoch was hoping to snap up parts of the group if it failed to secure new financing.

Murdoch is a shark. Sharks have sharp teeth,” he was quoted as telling the weekly Der Spiegel. “I can’t be angry with Rupert, even if he wants to eat me. That’s the way he is.”

It didn’t turn out that way. ProSiebenSat.1 went to a consortium led by U.S. tycoon Haim Saban, and Murdoch only returned to Premiere in 2008.

Instead, over the following years, Kirch turned his ire on Rolf Breuer, the then-CEO of Deutsche Bank.

Kirch accused Breuer of undermining his group’s creditworthiness and contributing to its eventual bankruptcy in a February 2002 television interview by implying that banks would not lend it any more money _ launching suits that are still making their way through German courts. The bank rejected his claims.

Kirch is survived by his wife, Ruth, and their son, Thomas.