Power Ranger Snatches ProSieben

06 August 2003

Haim Saban, the US multimillionaire whose fortune derives from peddling mediocre kids-TV products (among them Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) has won his battle to acquire a 72% controlling stake in Germany’s number two commercial broadcaster, ProSiebenSAT.1 – currently owned by creditors of the insolvent media giant KirchMedia.

The deal is especially significant as it allows US investors into the insular and closely controlled German media market for the first time. Kirch creditors voted to accept Saban Capital Group’s €7.50 ($8.57; £5.29) per share offer – despite a higher bid of €8 per share from UK private equity group Apax Partners.

It seems the money-men were eager for a quick sale after twelve months of haggling with potential buyers and refused the higher bidder extra time for intensified due diligence.

Between-the-liners are puzzled by this reluctance and speculate that Saban’s eagerness for a deal might rebound on him and his unconfirmed backers – reportedly US private equity firms Bain Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Providence Equity Partners, the Quadrangle Group and Thomas H Lee.

Saban’s revised offer which values the ProSieben stake at €525 million, excludes the KirchMedia film library, which has debts of €1.3 billion. In addition, the buyers will inject €280m into the lossmaking broadcaster and make a public offer for its listed preference shares, trading at €5.60-€5.65 a share.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff