KKR, Permira tighten grip on company

Publishing giant Axel Springer said Tuesday that it plans to sell its 12% stake in European broadcasting group ProSiebenSat1 for more than E509 million ($749 million) to shareholders KKR and Permira.

The exit of Springer, a longtime ProSiebenSat1 shareholder, seemed inevitable after its planned takeover of the broadcaster was torpedoed last year.

The German antitrust watchdog blocked that deal, saying the media conglom, which owns Bild, Germany’s largest-selling newspaper, would have dominated the advertising market along with Bertelsmann, which operates leading commercial channel RTL.

ProSiebenSat1′s channels include Sat1, ProSieben, Kabel 1, N24 and 9Live.

The sale comes as Springer prioritizes its operations and discards some non-core assets. Despite its exit from Germany’s biggest broadcasting group, Springer retains local TV operations in the country as well as major assets abroad.

Last year it acquired a 25% stake in Turkey’s biggest broadcasting company, Dogan TV, and took a 25.1% share in Polsat, Poland’s largest commercial broadcaster.

Springer said the ProSiebenSat1 deal must be approved by media regulators and depends on the final funding of the debt-financed portion of the price.

ProSiebenSat1 shares were up 1.3% to $27, below the $28.55 per share KKR and Permira have agreed to pay for the Springer stake.

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