PKS Media wraps up its SBS acquisition

Move marks end of era for Scandi broadcaster

CANNES – PKS Media has completed its acquisition of most of the liabilities and debts of pan-European station group SBS Broadcasting.

Transfer, announced in Luxembourg on Tuesday, ends a long adventure for the TV and radio station group first known as Scandinavia Broadcasting System, which has been a fixture on the Mipcom and Mip TV trade show scene for a decade.

SBS managed to right itself after two previous attempts to merge with rival companies — deals that made a huge splash at the Riviera resort in the late 1990s.

First merger would have been with Central European Media Enterprises, an Eastern European-based station conglom run by American Ronald Lauder, and the second was with European cable operator UPC, which got caught in the Internet bubble.

For now it’s business as usual at the dozen SBS TV stations, which are active buyers and sellers in Cannes.

Markus Tellenbach will continue as CEO of the newly transferred SBS Broadcasting. He will be on the board of directors of the new holding company for the SBS group, together with Harry Evans Sloan, former executive chairman of SBS, and Jurgen von Schwerin, who will continue as chief financial officer.

PKS Media is controlled by private equity firms Permira and KKR. The new board will also include KKR exec Clive Hollick as chairman, Permira partner Gotz Mauser as vice chairman, former Bertelsmann exec board member and Permisa adviser Arnold Bahlmann, Katrin Wehr-Seiter of Permira and Johannes Huth and Dominic Murphy of KKR.

SBS Broadcasting, the former holding company, is entering into liquidation. It will distribute the proceeds of the asset sale and certain other amounts to SBS shareholders and holders of SBS stock options.

Each SBS shareholder registered by the liquidation date of Tuesday is entitled to receive payment of the liquidation distribution of around E46 ($55) per share, which is expected to be made on or about Nov. 8.

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