Meissner resigns from ProSieben prod'n unit

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Frank Meissner has resigned as head of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1's in-house production division as the media group gets ready to put the unit on the auction block, the company said Tuesday.

Meissner is moving to ProSiebenSat.1's all-news channel N24, where he will take over the job of managing director of production and technology. In addition, Meissner will head up the production of sports coverage for the entire ProSiebenSat.1 group.

Christian Wegner will replace Meissner at production division ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion, while continuing in his current job as managing director in charge of broadcasting services, strategy, finance and "creative solutions" at ProSiebenSat.1.

ProSiebenSat.1 is shopping around its production arm and has hired consultancy group Ernst & Young to advise on the sale. ProSiebenSat.1 declined comment Tuesday but the company is believed to be asking €250 million ($343 million) for the division.

Potential bidders are thought to include German electronics giant Siemens, London-based production services group Red Bee Media and a joint German bid by satellite operator SES Astra and Plazamedia, a production subsidiary of Munich-based EM.Sport Media (formerly EM.TV).

ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion produces mainly news, magazine and talk shows for the ProSiebenSat.1 group as well as handling on air design and promotion. The division employs about 1,000 people.

Selling the division is part of an overall restructuring at ProSiebenSat.1 following its acquisition by private equity companies KKR/Permira late last year and the merger of ProSieben with pan-European broadcaster SBS in July.
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