ProSieben owners hire JP Morgan to explore exit-sources

Mon Feb 4, 2013 10:17am EST

* JP Morgan to explore sale or IPO - sources

* KKR, Permira own 88 pct of ProSieben's voting shares

* Owners to convert preference shares into common shares

By Arno Schuetze and Philipp Halstrick

FRANKFURT, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Private equity owners KKR and Permira have mandated JP Morgan to explore an exit from German media group ProSiebenSat.1 , two persons familiar the companies involved told Reuters.

"JP Morgan will check whether anchor investors in the media business or companies are interested in ProSieben as a whole or whether the private equity owners' shares have to be floated," one person said.

KRR and Permira, which own 88 percent of the voting shares, with Dutch publisher Telegraaf Media Group holding the remaining 12 percent, said in December they would prepare an exit following the sale of ProSieben's Scandinavian activities.

The $1.7 billion disposal to Discovery Communications is expected to close in the current quarter.

After ProSieben's shareholders meet on July 23, the two private equity owners intend to convert non-voting preference shares into ordinary shares, all of which will be admitted to trading at the stock exchange.

"They (JP Morgan) have been advisory bank of choice for KKR and Permira for years and are now slowly preparing ground for the exit," another person said, added that not much will happen before the shareholders meeting in July.

ProSieben, KKR and Permira declined to comment.

ProSieben will be the second major European media asset to be made available this year.

Last week privately-held Bertelsmann, Europe's biggest media group, said it was considering whether to sell a small part of its 92.3-percent stake in RTL Group.

RTL and ProSieben are the two dominant players on the German commercial television market.

Permira and KKR in 2006 bought a controlling stake in ProSiebenSat.1 and merged it with SBS Broadcasting, a media group they bought a year earlier.

The transaction valued ProSiebenSat.1 at 5.9 billion euros. ProSieben's current market capitalization is around 2.8 billion euros, according to Reuters data.

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