Saban & Co. weigh sale

Future unknown with Teuton TV group

BERLIN — Haim Saban and his equity investment partners are expected to decide on the future of German TV group ProSiebenSat 1 in coming weeks, but a sale to publishing giant and fellow shareholder Axel Springer no longer appears to be a foregone conclusion.

While a takeover by Springer, which already holds a 12% stake in the broadcaster, had been widely expected, people close to Saban have signaled the possibility that the media mogul and his financial backers will retain their stake in the company and even expand the group.

Speaking last month at investment bank Allen & Co.’s media and technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Saban said ProSiebenSat 1’s revenue would be much stronger in the second half of the year.

Insiders have pointed out that a possible deal with Springer, Germany’s biggest publishing company, could be torpedoed by federal antitrust watchdogs. Nevertheless, Springer is looking over the company’s books and is understood to be offering around x1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) for a controlling stake.

Speculation over a possible sale of ProSiebenSat 1 by Saban and his partners heated up in April after those shareholders bought their way out of a contractual clause with ProSiebenSat 1’s former parent, Kirch Media, that blocked a sale of the broadcaster.

Christian Koehl in Cologne contributed to this report.

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