Power Rangers Supremo Saban Sets Sights on KirchMedia

05 July 2002

A new suitor for the remains of KirchMedia, quondam flagship of Germany’s now deceased media empire Kirch Gruppe, has emerged in the shape of American billionaire Haim Saban.

Saban – the man who inflicted on an unsuspecting world the colourful Power Rangers children’s characters– made $1.4 billion (€1.4bn; £0.9bn) last year when he sold his 49.5% stake in Fox Family Worldwide to Walt Disney Company. Investments in media firms are now made through his Saban Capital Group.

Interested parties were due to make indicative bids by the start of this week, with offers of $2bn upwards expected to gain access to KirchMedia’s data. Some bidders are thought to have subsequently commenced due diligence proceedings.

Saban is believed to be eyeing newspaper giant Axel Springer, which has already teamed with publisher Heinrich Bauer in the auction, as a potential partner.

German groups need the financial muscle of their US counterparts, while American investors require German allies to avoid political opposition. Saban’s current lack of major media assets could also make his involvement more palatable to regulators.

Other interested parties include a consortium of Commerzbank and US movie studio Columbia Tristar, which is looking for further members after publisher WAZ Gruppe dropped out.

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