KKR, Permira bid is frontrunner

BERLIN — A plan by equity firms KKR and Permira to merge their pan-European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting with ProSiebenSat 1 in the case of a successful takeover of Haim Saban’s TV group may ultimately clinch the deal, according to sources in the know.

KKR and Permira remain the frontrunners to acquire ProSiebenSat 1 as bidding for the group enters its final phase.

The two companies have reportedly drawn up plans to merge the two broadcasters and move the Dutch-based SBS into the Munich headquarters of ProSiebenSat 1.

It’s a scenario that is finding wide-ranging favor at ProSiebenSat 1 and in the state of Bavaria. An enlarged ProSiebenSat 1 would strengthen Bavaria’s media industry and create more jobs while becoming one of the biggest broadcasting groups in Europe.

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, ProSiebenSat 1 topper Guillaume de Posch would head the merged group, which would see combined annual revenue of Euros 3 billion ($3.8 billion).

Permira and KKR last year took over SBS Broadcasting for some $2.5 billion, buying out main shareholders Liberty Media and Harry Evans Sloan, who originally launched the broadcaster in 1989 and served as its chairman through 2006, before taking the reins at MGM.

As a transnational Euro player, SBS is second only to German powerhouse RTL in reach and revenues, but a merger with ProSiebenSat 1 would create a rival behemoth.

Saban and his investment partners are expected to make close to $4 billion from the sale of their joint 50.5% stake in ProSiebenSat 1.

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