Saban Powers Up to Buy ProSieben, Take Two
Created 08/04/2003 - 23:00
Now rumors AWN reported on two weeks ago about POWER RANGERS-powered billionaire Haim Saban making another run to buy ProSiebenSat.1 Media have been confirmed. A group of investors led by Saban have submitted a revived bid to buy a majority stake in the broadcaster from insolvent German media group KirchMedia. Saban has made a better offer to acquire 72% of ProSiebens vote-wielding ordinary shares at an estimated cost of$575 million plus an additional $225 million for a 16.5% stake held by KirchMedia and German publisher Axel Springer. VARIETY reported on August 5, 2003 that the bid was accepted by the creditor committee.
Two months after his first attempt fizzled, Saban now has the backing of five private equity firms: Providence Equity Partners, Hellman & Friedman, Thomas H. Lee, Quadrangle Group and Bain Capital, which reduces his involvement and lessens concerns about the financing.
Saban would not take control of the broadcaster because he does not have a majority in the consortium. Having a foreigner take control of Germanys biggest broadcaster was politically sensitive plus the creditors reportedly wanted to see the risk spread amongst financial partners. Saban, and his group seem willing to pay compensation to the ProSiebens small shareholders, unlike in his earlier offer, a sticking point that helped derail the first attempt. Saban and the investors may need to pay an additional $330 million to buy out the minority shareholders.
The investor group is also expected to invest $330 million into ProSiebenSat.1 and s and assume some $220 million in debt attached to a high-yield bond.