The sale is complete, U.S. billionaire Haim Saban took control of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 by acquiring a majority stake from the insolvent parent house KirchMedia. The deal was finalized August 9, 2003 with Kirchs creditor banks and the transaction is expected to be completed this week. Saban acquired 36% of the share capital of ProSiebenSat.1, which gives him and his investors 72% of the companys voting rights.
The trades report that Saban is believed to be paying $596.3 million and providing $318 million to bolster the broadcaster. Saban and his backers will also likely buy up listed preferred shares in ProSieben, which would have to be at the minimum price set by German law, which comes to about $6.92.
We are committed to a long-term business plan and are excited about the opportunity to enter the German market as at this time, Saban said in a statement. We are confident that ProSeiben has the potential to become the most successful broadcasting company in Europe, he added.
Sabans first attempt to buy the broadcaster collapsed two months ago. This time, he spread the risk with five private equity firms, which was a more agreeable formula to Kirchs creditors.
Saban plans to strengthen ProSiebens ties to Hollywood he told German paper, WELT AM SONNTAG, and will expand its home entertainment and merchandising business. The Israeli-born Saban also used the occasion to criticize German and European TV coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, citing it was one-sided. While vowing to not interfere journalistically, he said broadcasters must present both sides to remain balanced and give viewers what they want.
Saban expressed optimism about the state of the economy in Germany. He said, The advertising market is shrinking and theres unemployment. But does any sane person really believe that Germany will experience a crisis like the one Japan in is going through or that it will continue for another 10 years! Ill say to you, any time is a good time to invest in Germany.