Kirch deal gets antitrust nod

Saban takeover expected to wrap mid-May

BERLIN — Haim Saban received federal antitrust approval Thursday for his takeover of Germany’s largest broadcasting group, ProSiebenSat.1, as well as the film library and licensing business formerly belonging to bankrupt TV giant Kirch Media.

The federal cartel office said Saban’s takeover of ProSiebenSat.1 and the licensing business would have no detrimental impact on competition in the local TV and licensing markets since Saban nor his Saban Capital Group have any existing operations in Germany.

The billionaire producer outbid rivals last month for the Kirch assets, making him the first Hollywood player to enter the world’s second-largest market on a grand scale.

Saban still faces a review by the regulatory org Commission on Concentration in the Media (KEK) and, more importantly, a final greenlight from Kirch Media creditors, who have recently accused Saban of seeking to change the terms of the initial deal to his own benefit. Saban reps have dismissed the charges, saying they are simply translating the initial term sheet into a proper contract. The takeover is expected to be completed by mid-May.

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