Amid Sales Speculation, Euro Broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Extends Contract for CEO

6:23 AM PST 03/28/2013 by Scott Roxborough
Thomas Ebeling has been CEO at ProSiebenSat.1 since 2009.

Thomas Ebeling, who has delivered record results three years running for the German-based group, extended his contract as CEO through 2017.

COLOGNE, Germany -- European broadcast giant ProSiebenSat.1 might have a new owner by the end of this year, but the man running the company is staying put.

Thomas Ebeling, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1, has extended his contract with the company through 2017. Ebeling joined ProSieben in 2009 and has helped the group to record results the past three years running. In 2012, revenue at ProSiebenSat.1 jumped 7.7 percent to nearly $4 billion, and profits from continuing actives were up an impressive 34 percent to $543 million.

Those results have boosted ProSieben stock and fueled speculation that the private equity companies that control the broadcaster will soon sell the company.

KKR and Primera, which have controlled ProSieben since paying $4.2 billion for a majority stake in 2006, recently hired JPMorgan Chase to advise them on their sale options.

With television ad sales in ProSieben's core German market still robust, the timing for a sale appears idea. Media speculation tips a major international conglomerate -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, Time Warner, Comcast-controlled NBCUniversal or Discovery Communications -- as a likely suitor for the German group.

Given ProSieben's dominant position in the German market, however -- the broadcaster controls about one-third of the commercial TV business in Germany -- any media company would face a tough battle to get regulatory approval of a takeover deal, making a sale to another private equity firm an appealing alternative.

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