ProSiebenSat.1/SBS Merger Closer After Dutch Publisher’s Acquisition Option

Holland’s Telegraaf Media Group (TMG) said it has an option to buy a stake in ProSiebenSat.1, making a merger of Germany’s largest commercial TV producer and Luxembourg-based broadcasting group SBS more likely. TMG already has a 20 percent stake in SBS, which is controlled by two private equity firms – Permira and KKR – that have each wanted to bring the pan-European TV and radio company together with the Berlin-based TV group, which is also majority-owned by the pair after a $4 billion acquisition from a Haim Saban consortium earlier this year.

Bringing Telegraaf under the same umbrella is likely to ease the path to consolidation. Thomson: “Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas said, in a note to clients, that the deal is excellent news as it ensures that a bidding war for SBS … will be avoided and that the anticipated synergies between SBS and ProSieben are substantiated.” Also: “The Dutch company will forfeit its right of first refusal on SBS, which would enable TMG to block ProSieben’s plans if exercised.” Telegraaf, which publishes the De Telegraas newspaper, did not disclose the size of the possible stake in ProSiebenSat.1, which last month posted a 32 percent Q1 profit hike after positive performances from websites operated by Solute, which it acquired in February.