Teuton credit union

Saban, ProSieben partners draw $1.6 bil

Haim Saban and his ProSiebenSat 1 investment partners have secured a E1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) credit line with their majority stake in the German broadcaster.

German Media Partners, the ProSiebenSat 1 parent company controlled by Saban and his business partners, announced Wednesday that proceeds from the credit line would be distributed to GMP’s shareholders, which also include Bain, Hellman & Friedman, Providence, Thomas H. Lee Partners, Putnam, Quadrangle and Alpine.

Local analysts reckon the secured loan means GMP is less likely to sell ProSiebenSat 1 in the near term.

Through its P7S1 Holding subsidiary, GMP controls 88% of ProSiebenSat 1’s common voting shares; fellow shareholder Axel Springer owns the remaining 12%. Only the company’s nonvoting shares are publicly listed.

Germany’s antitrust watchdog blocked Springer from buying GMP and taking over the broadcaster, citing the group’s extensive print media holdings in the country.

News comes after ProSiebenSat 1 announced it would up dividends for shareholders. New proposed dividend of $1.06 per preference share and $1.04 per common share doubles a proposal made in February. Dividends would total $232 million, or 82% of the group’s consolidated net profit.

Meanwhile, ProSiebenSat 1 started airing its German-language program in Canada on Wednesday. The foreign offering, ProSiebenSat 1 Welt, is a compilation of shows from the broadcaster’s four channels and includes news and matches from the national soccer league.

It’s marketed in Canada through Ethnic Channels Group and airs on Rogers Cable, Telus TV and Bell ExpressVu.

Web targets around 1 million German speakers in Canada. In the U.S., the net launched on EchoStar’s Dish Network last year and has 13,000 subscribers.

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