Telegraaf takes ProSieben stake

Block to SBS merger removed

BERLIN — Dutch group Telegraaf Media is set to join private equity firms KKR and Permira as a shareholder in ProSiebenSat 1, a move that will ease the merger of the German TV company and pan-European broadcaster SBS.

KKR and Permira, which also own a majority in SBS, have been planning to merge the two companies. Telegraph, however, owns a 20% stake in SBS as well as a first-buy option for the Luxembourg-based broadcaster and had signaled an interest in making a bid — a move that would have blocked a merger with ProSiebenSat 1.

Telegraaf has confirmedit now has an option for a minority stake in ProSiebenSat 1 but declined to reveal the size of the possible share.

With Telegraaf on board as a ProSiebenSat 1 shareholder, it would forfeit its first-buy option for SBS, clearing the main obstacle to ProSiebenSat 1-SBS merger.

ProSiebenSat 1 execs have said a takeover of SBS is likely by the fall.

Company has been conducting due diligence on SBS and is expected to take over the broadcaster later this year for a reported E 3.5 billion ($4.7 billion).

A ProSiebenSat 1/SBS group would operate 24 TV stations and some 22 pay-TV channels in 10 countries throughout Europe, reaching up to 80 million households.

KKR and Permira purchased ProSiebenSat 1 earlier this year for $4 billion from a consortium led by Haim Saban.

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