ProSiebenSat1 Gets Approach for N24 Buyout

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 (PSMG_p.DE) may agree to a management buyout for its struggling news channel N24, according to a German media report.

“N24’s managing director Torsten Rossmann has informed us that he is developing a concept in concert with Stefan Aust, the former editor of German magazine Der Spiegel,” PrtoSieben Chief Executive Thomas Ebeling told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in advance comments from an interview to be published on Wednesday.

“We are now taking a close look at who is potentially interested in N24 and whether it is possible to divest the channel at acceptable conditions,” Ebeling said.

Ebeling had said in November that options in a strategic review for N24 — which according to Ebeling had an annual loss in a double-digit million euro range — included an overhaul and a sale but ruled out closing down the channel.

He reiterated that shutting operations was not an option and ProSieben may decide to pursue cost cuts instead of a sale.

A decision is expected to be made by end-March, Ebeling said.

ProSieben, which is majority owned by KKR  and Permira, is focused on cutting net debt, which stood at 3.53 billion euros ($5.1 billion) at the end of September.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske in Frankfurt; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6889 Euro)