Largest private German TV broadcaster sold

Germany’s largest private TV broadcaster, ProSiebenSat.1, is being sold to two private equity firms in a transaction valued at about $7.6 billion.

The buyers, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Permira, hope to use the investment to create a competitor to Luxembourg-based RTL, the broadcast sales leader in Europe.

ProSiebenSat.1 operates five TV channels that draw 42 percent of all German TV advertising revenue. Its sale completes a turnaround of the company by Haim Saban, an American-Israeli billionaire who bought it with five private equity investment partners in August 2003 from the creditors of the German media mogul Leo Kirch.

The new owners, “The New York Times” reported, are likely to combine ProSiebenSat.1, which is based in Unterföhring, a suburb of Munich, with their SBS Broadcasting, a group of 16 radio stations, 19 free TV channels and 20 pay TV channels, with a combined 100 million viewers in nine countries.

Kohlberg Kravis and Permira bought a 74 percent stake in SBS in August 2005 for $2.06 billion. SBS began as a Scandinavian broadcaster and now owns stations in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Sweden.