BERLIN — Haim Saban’s ProSiebenSat 1 TV group is close to taking over lucrative interactive TV group Euvia Media, which operates call-in quiz channel Neun Live and travel web Sonnenklar.
Euvia is 48.4% owned by ProSiebenSat.1 and 48.6% by Barry Diller’s Home Shopping Network; Neun Live topper Christiane zu Salm owns 3%.
Euvia has grown strongly over two years, thanks to Neun Live, which has become a model for Germany’s ad-dependent commercial TV sector for generating revenue through interactive dial-up shows.
ProSiebenSat.1 declined to comment on reports of a takeover, but a deal is expected to be wrapped by the end of the month.
Euvia is valued at e400 million ($522 million), with the combined Home Shopping Network and zu Salm stakes priced at more than $200 million.
In 2003 Euvia posted a net profit $4.5 million, with sales up nearly 50% to $118 million.
Euvia was launched by Germany’s HOT Networks, a joint venture between Home Shopping Network and Teutonic industryites Georg Kofler and Thomas Kirch (son of bankrupt media mogul Leo Kirch), and ProSiebenSat.1.
Diller’s company took over Kofler and Kirch’s stake in 2002 following the collapse of KirchMedia, which had backed the investment.
Meanwhile, Saban’s close associate and former chairman of his Fox Kids Europe, Ynon Kreiz, has joined venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.
Kreiz is a general partner of European funds, charged with expanding its investment portfolio into the media. Benchmark has $375 million earmarked for European investments.
Kreiz helped found Fox Kids in 1996 as a joint venture between News Corp. and Saban’s Saban Entertainment. It was sold to Walt Disney in Oct. 2001 and Kreiz ankled in Dec. 2002.
He immediately rejoined Saban and was put in charge of finding investment opportunities in the media. Following the purchase of Germany’s ProSieben broadcast group by Saban and investors in August 2003, Kreiz was appointed to the supervisory board.
Addie Morfoot and Leo Barraclough contributed to this report