MFE raises stake in struggling ProSiebenSat.1 again

MediaForEurope (MF) has further upped its stake in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1.

MFE has purchased additional shares in the German broadcast group to round up its stake of combined held and secured shares to 28.87% of the share capital or 29.7% of current voting rights, excluding treasury shares.

MFE now holds 26.58% of the share capital of the broadcaster, or 27.34% of the current voting rights, through direct ownership, with a further 2.29%, or 2.35% of current voting rights, secured through financial instruments.

The latest acquisition of shares, characterised as a ’rounding up’ exercise, comes a few weeks after ProSiebenSat.1 posted extraordinarily disappointing quarterly and full-year results that saw the company’s share price fall sharply alongside an announcement that it would “significantly reduce” its dividend. .

ProSiebenSat.1 posted revenues of €4.163 billion for the full year, down 7% in what the company described as “a severely weakened market environment”, impacted by the war in Ukraine and attendant inflation and energy price rises. Ad revenues were down 6% for the full year and 12% for the fourth quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA fell from €841 million to €678 million.

Company CEO Bert Habets said at the the time that ProSiebenSat.1 was reorganising itself, “in particular to advance our entertainment business around the streaming platform Joyn, with full force” and added that the company had “launched a strict cost reduction programme”.

ProSiebenSat.1 had already been forced to delay the publication of its annual financial statements due to an unforeseen regulatory problem related to its Jochen Schweizer GmbH and mydays GmbH subsidiaries.

ProSiebenSat.1 has long been subject to consolidation speculation, both in relation to a possible combination with RTL in German and a cross-border merger to create a pan-European media outfit, championed by MFE.

Earlier this month, Habets told the FT that neither plan was on the cards, characterising an in-country merger with RTL as unacceptable to regulators, as the combined outfit would control 70% of the country’s TV ad market.

Habets also said he had not been approached by MFE to discuss the merits of a cross-border deal.

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