US Investor Mulls Legal Challenge to ProSieben Deal

07 August 2003

A stateside investment group is considering taking media millionaire Haim Saban to court over his acquisition of German TV giant ProSiebenSat.1.

New York-based Tweedy Browne is consulting its lawyers about the details of the deal and calling on other investors to help push for new terms.

Saban – who made his millions inflicting Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on the world’s parents – agreed earlier this week to acquire 36% of the ordinary shares in ProSieben, once part of the KirchMedia empire. This stake brings with it a 72% voting interest.

Kirch creditors voted to accept Saban Capital Group’s €7.50 ($8.57; £5.29) per share bid [WAMN: 06-Aug-03]. Saban is now expected to make an offer for non-voting preference shares, of which Tweedy holds 8.5%.

The investment firm is concerned that, under German takeover law, this offer will be based on ProSieben’s average share price over the past three months, which could be as low as €5.62 per share – a scenario Tweedy is desperate to avoid.

“We are looking at all our legal options,” warned managing director Thomas Shrager. “We are going to do everything possible to amend this.”

Tweedy is no stranger to taking on media moguls, having recently launched a campaign for better governance at Lord Conrad Black’s Hollinger International [WAMN: 11-Jun-03].

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