MFE ups ProSiebenSat.1 stake close to mandatory buyout threshold

MediaForEurope (MFE), the Dutch-based holding group of Italy’s Mediaset and its stake in Mediaset España, has upped its stake in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 by a further 4%, taking its total to 29%, with 29.9% of the voting rights.

The move means that MFE’s stake in ProSiebenSat.1 is now just below the 30% threshold that would trigger a mandatory buyout offer under German law.

The group secured the additional stake through financial instruments but did not disclose financial details. MFE now holds 22.72% of the German broadcaster directly and 6.28% through financial instruments.

The acquisition of the additional stake will fuel speculation about an acquisition. MFE has long been clear about its belief that cross-border media mergers are key to enabling European broadcasters to compete with streaming giants and big tech.

Analysts at Berenberg recently commented that ProSiebenSat.1 could be tempted to look again at MediaForEurope’s proposals for the creation of a pan-European broadcast group after downgrading its guidance for the full year on weaker-than-expected advertising revenue.

Berenberg speculated that ProSiebenSat.1’s appointment of a new CEO, Bert Habets, who has now replaced Rainer Beaujean, could also lead to a change of heart. Beaujean was strongly opposed to a merger and highly sceptical of the value of cross-border ownership.

““with a new CEO, and weakened profitability, the prospect of synergies in advertising and streaming technology may be more tempting,” the analysts said.

In its recent financial update, ProSiebenSat.1 said that the current quarter “shows signs of a more pronounced weakened macroeconomic environment than initially reflected in the latest full-year outlook” and said it now expected revenues of about €4.15 billion for the full year, with adjusted EBITDA of around €650 million.

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