Permira set for run at Kirch group

Saban could lose bid for media company

BERLIN — The bidding for Kirch Media’s ProSiebenSat 1 heated up again Tuesday with European investment firm Permira set to give U.S. media billionaire Haim Saban some competition by mulling an offer for the German broadcasting group.

Permira, which operates 17 investment funds worth e6 billion ($6.8 billion), has already taken over one former Kirch asset — pay TV platform Premiere, which it acquired in April.

Permira sources told financial daily Handelsblatt that the company was interested in ProSiebenSat 1, adding that “there could be a lot of synergies with our investment in Premiere.”

News follows reports that Saban is also preparing a new offer after his takeover attempt last month fell through.

Saban case weak

Saban could face stiff competition from Permira. Banking insiders said there was little enthusiasm to deal with Saban, adding that creditors remained skeptical of Saban’s negotiating tactics.

Permira may also have an added bonus in the form of Premiere CEO and former ProSieben chief Georg Kofler, a well-connected and savvy media maven who has long been linked to Kirch Media.

The planned dissolution of the vast Kirch film library, whose prime titles are going to ProSiebenSat 1, has made an investment in the broadcaster more attractive to potential buyers who would no longer have to bid separately for the program stockpile.

Following the failure of Saban’s bid, Kirch Media’s management said it would run ProSiebenSat 1 with the help of creditor banks for the next few years until a better price could be had.

ProSiebenSat 1 is currently valued at $1 billion. The broadcasting group includes channels ProSieben, SAT.1, Kabel 1 and new web N24 as well as a 48% stake in interactive quiz outlet Neun Live.

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