More uncertainty on Germany's airwaves

ProSieben, EM shares remain at near-historic lows

COLOGNE, Germany -- The German market woke up Monday to fresh rumors about broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 and rights giant EM.Sport Media.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that ProSieben is looking to issue 400 million euros ($635 million) in new shares and that EM is backing away from plans for a full takeover of Swiss group Highlight Communications.

ProSieben and EM shares posted gains Monday, but both stocks remain at near-historic lows as a climate of uncertainty spooks investors.

ProSieben denied that it is looking to issue new shares to help pay down about $5 billion it owes from last year's acquisition of SBS Broadcasting. But its owners, private-equity groups KKR and Permira, need to find a way out of the current crisis. ProSieben stock is worth a fraction of what it was a year ago, and the group remains without a replacement for exiting CEO Gulliaume de Posch.

The EM rumors center on its plans to merge with Highlight. At issue is Highlight subsidiary TEAM, which owns rights to the Champions League tournament and is partly owned by European soccer body Uefa. It is believed that Uefa has an option to buy all of TEAM should EM acquire control of Highlight.

Reports suggest that EM might settle for increasing its 37.6% stake in Highlight to 49%. EM declined comment Monday.
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