Haim Saban can boast another giant exit. In 2001 he sold Fox Family to Disney for $2 billion. Now the Israeli-American communications and media mogul is selling his holdings in the German broadcast company ProSiebenSat.1 at a personal profit of a billion dollars.
Private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Permira have agreed to buy ProSiebenSat.1 in a deal that values the German broadcaster at about $7.5 billion, sources in the know said on Thursday.
The buyers reached the agreement with Saban, who leads the German Media Partners group that owns 50.5% of ProSiebenSat.1.
KKR and Permira beat the bids from the biggest media group in Turkey, Dogan, and a joint venture of Goldman Sachs with the Apax Partners Worldwide equity fund.
The buyers are appending ProSiebenSat.1 to SBS Broadcasting, the second-biggest broadcaster in Europe, creating fierce competition to RTL. KKR and Permira bought SBS last year for 1.7 billion euros.
A year ago Saban was poised to sell ProSiebenSat.1 to Axel Springer, the biggest publisher in Europe. But Germany's regulators frowned on the deal. Earlier this year the watchdogs also killed a takeover by Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, who wanted to buy the whole company outright.
Saban bought his first shares in ProSiebenSat.1 at 7.5 euros. Today shares in the broadcast company are up to 23.70 euros. In September this year, Saban commented in an interview with Kobi Maidan that he had bought the German company even though 81 other companies were looking at it: "I came out of the crematorium at Dachau. Adam Chesnoff called me and asked if I wanted 50% of the German market," Saban related.
Chesnoff is the president and chief operating officer of Saban Capital Group.
ProSiebenSat.1 Chief Executive Guillaume de Posch and other top executives are expected to stay on after the deal closes, a source told Reuters.
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