Springer grabs Polsat stake

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German media giant Axel Springer has taken a 25.1% stake in Polish television group Polsat in a deal valued at up to €300 million ($400 million).

The agreement, first tipped last month (HR 11/21), still must be approved by Polish and European regulators. The deal gives Springer a foothold in Poland's growing TV sector.

Polsat operates five free-to-air channels in Poland including flagship stations Polsat and Polsat 2, two sports channels and a niche health-themed channel.

Springer will pay €250 million ($333 million) for the stake plus an additional top-up of up to €50 million ($66.5 million) depending on how Polsat stock develops over the next two years.

In a separate development, Springer shareholders Hellman & Friedman and company CEO Mathias Doepfner announced Monday they will be selling off a significant portion of their shares in the company.

H&F and Doepfner are together offering up 3.27 million Springer shares for a price of between €120-€135 ($160- $180) a share. The offer runs from Monday through Wednesday and could generate €433 million-€487 million ($576 million-$648 million).

The deal will cut H&F's stake in Springer in half, to just under 10%, and will boost the volume of Springer shares in free-float by about 10% to 25.8%.
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