Saban Morphs Back Into Suitor Mode for KirchMedia

22 July 2003

Just six weeks after walking away from negotiations to acquire control of insolvent German TV giant KirchMedia, representatives of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers billionaire Haim Saban have returned to talk turkey with the group’s creditors.

It was emphasized, however, that the latest talks – which centre around KirchMedia’s controlling stake in Germany’s largest broadcaster ProSiebenSAT.1 – are at a preliminary stage with no guarantee of further progress.

An ‘in principle’ deal was struck earlier this year but foundered in early June after the value of the US dollar declined dramatically against the euro, rendering the deal too pricey even for the deep pockets of Saban, his cabal of US investors and French TV broadcaster TF1. All but the latter are now believed to be back at the negotiating table.

The big lure for Saban is ProSieben, which still holds around fifty per cent of the German TV market despite losing ground to rival RTL. The broadcaster’s cash position has been further weakened by the nation’s severe advertising drought – leaving the door ajar for Saban to return with an offer significantly lower than the €7.5 per share previously tabled.

Insiders suggest a figure nearer to €6-€7 a share.

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