Saban Bolsters German Television Team

12 May 2004

Haim Saban the American-Israeli media mogul has recruited former BBC Director General Greg Dyke as one of his lieutenants.

Dyke, who quit the BBC earlier this year, will join the supervisory board of Saban's German pay-TV group ProSiebenSat1.

Dyke joins Tony Ball, former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's UK pay-TV venture BSkyB, as a high-profile member of the Saban team.

His appointment immediately sparked suggestions that Dyke may spearhead a move by Saban to buy the UK's main commercial television operator, ITV.

Observers point to the fact that last year Saban indicated he had a $41.5 billion (€35bn;£23.5bn) acquisition chest and that he has dropped out of the biding for Conrad Black's media group Hollinger International.

Dyke, who quit the state broadcaster in January, following a damaging report on the corporation's coverage of a Government dossier about the reasons for invading Iraq, is a veteran TV executive with extensive knowledge of the commercial and state sectors.

Alternatively Saban may simply be seeking to strengthen the ProSieben group as he strives to bring it back to profitability.

Since acquiring the loss-making network from KirchMedia last year, he has radically restructured the management team.

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