A private equity consortium led by Saban Capital Group has purchased ProSiebenSat.1, Germany’s second- largest private television broadcaster, for a purchase price in excess of E1.3 billion. The T.V. station was carved out of its bankrupt parent, KirchMedia GmbH & Co. KGaA.
Hollywood Mogul Haim Saban, creator of theMighty Morphin Power Rangers, reportedly shelled out approximately E525 million for a 36% stake in the company. Controlling five of the nine board seats, the deal gives Saban Capital control of 72% of the shareholder voting. Of the Saban-controlled 36% slice of the pie, < $iBain Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners are taking the biggest bites, with Quadrangle Group and Alpine Equity gathering up the leftovers. According to a source, the entire contribution from these six buyout shops is in the form of debtor notes.
Published reports have stated Kirchmedia is part of a joint venture that will retain 28% of ProSiebenSat.1.
ProSiebanSat.1 is the second-largest German television broadcaster, behind the Bertlesmann-owned RTL. Created after the 2000 merger of ProSieben and Sat.1, the broadcaster holds a 22% share of German viewers and a source close to the deal said “there is opportunity to increase their market share, from whatever they can gouge out of [RTL].” Beneath RTL and ProSiebanSat.1, the source said, is a highly fragmented industry, which could also be fertile ground for gaining market share.
Like any drama, this story has had its highs and lows. The low points for Saban include a March bid that fell through due to skepticism surrounding Saban’s financing, a rival bid from U.K.-based Apax Partners in May and Saban’s unsuccessful bid (sans private equity shops) in June. Of course, like most television programs, this show seems to have a good ending for Saban.