Inside Move: ProSiebenSat.1’s funny bid-ness

Co. tries solo flight but new buyers circle

A correction was made to this article on July 29, 2003.

So much for Plan B.

After Haim Saban‘s takeover bid for a majority stake in ProSiebenSat.1 collapsed last month, execs at the broadcasting group said ProSiebenSat.1 would instead go it alone to secure its own future with the help of insolvent parent Kirch Media and its creditor banks.

But it didn’t take long for the buyers to start lining up again for Kirch’s 72% stake in the broadcaster. And even Saban ap-pears to be back for a second shot, although local bankers reckon the billionaire producer has blown his chances with Kirch’s creditors.

The latest hot contender for the group: European investment group Permira, which earlier this year took over Kirch’s flailing pay TV service Premiere. The firm, which operates 17 investment funds totaling e6 billion ($6.8 billion), has said “there could be a lot of synergies with our investment in Premiere.”

Under Georg Kofler, Premiere has managed to cut costs, lower losses and boost subscriptions, and the maven has long been seen as a possible candidate to take the reins at ProSiebenSat.1.

If Permira makes an offer Kirch’s creditors can’t refuse, ProSiebenSat.1 and Premiere could once again end up under the same roof.

A sale of ProSiebenSat.1 wouldn’t include Kirch’s 18,000-title film library, which is being liquidated in an effort to simplify the asset sale. The broadcasting group has picked out the top 2,000 titles, such as “Mission: Impossible” and “Saving Private Ryan,” and the remaining stockpile is on the block.

Kirch execs are looking at a list of buyers said to include Constantin Film, Tele Munchen, ARD sales division Telepool and former Kirch exec Jan Mojto, who recently launched his own international sales shingle.

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