ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (PSM), Germany’s biggest private broadcaster, said it’s evaluating interest in its Nordic assets after its adviser JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) was approached by several parties.
“As a listed company, we have to talk to these people and find out if they are serious, if their valuation of the assets is appropriate and if their potential offers are properly funded,” spokesman Julian Geist said by phone yesterday. The stock jumped as much as 3.3 percent in Frankfurt trading today.
ProSiebenSat.1 carried out a strategic review of northern European assets last year to reduce debt, and in April 2011 it agreed to sell Dutch and Belgian broadcasting and print operations. The media company decided against a sale of its businesses in Scandinavia even after receiving interest from Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA:US) and Modern Times Group AB (MTGB), a person familiar with the situation said at the time.
The Nordic assets may be worth at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.75 billion), which includes the Kanal 5 and Kanal 9 television channels in Sweden and TV Norge, FEM, Vox and Max broadcasters in Norway, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, declining to be identified because the discussions are private.
The region generated about 476 million euros in revenue in 2011, or 17 percent of ProSiebenSat.1’s sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Second-quarter revenue from Norway grew 6.4 percent, while in Sweden, sales climbed 12 percent.
Modern Times Chief Executive Officer Hans-Holger Albrecht said he wouldn’t comment on “market rumors and speculation” when reached by Bloomberg News yesterday. Elizabeth Hillman, a spokeswoman for Silver Spring, Maryland-based Discovery, declined to comment.
ProSiebenSat.1, which is majority owned by private-equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR:US) and Permira Advisers LLP, climbed as much as 63 cents to 19.42 euros and was trading up 2.3 percent at 9:50 a.m., adding to a 3.4 percent gain yesterday. The stock has jumped 36 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 4.2 billion euros.
CEO Thomas Ebeling said on a conference call in August last year that ProSiebenSat.1 would keep the Nordic broadcasting operations -- which also include assets in Denmark and Finland - - for at least three to five years.
“You should never say never, but it’s really core and we intend to keep it for at least that amount of time,” Ebeling said at the time.
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