ProSieben denies 9Live sale rumors

Channel generates revenue through call-in shows

COLOGNE, Germany -- Troubled Pan-European broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has denied rumors it plans to sell 9Live, a Munich-based channel that generates the bulk of its revenue through call-in shows.

ProSieben has made no secret of its plans to sell off “non-core assets” as it tries to pay down the 3.4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in debt weighing down the group, which controls 26 free TV channels in 13 European countries.

But while the group has sold its Scandinavian pay TV operations to Sweden’s TV4 for 320 million euros, outsourced its IT operations to IBM and is shopping around its Munich-based production service group ProSiebenSat.1 Berlin Produktion, selling 9Live, according to ProSieben, is currently not an option.

That stance might be more practical than principled. In the current economic climate, finding a buyer ready to pay anything close to market value for 9Live would be a challenge. Late last year, ProSieben took its Dutch TV listing magazine Veronica off the auction block after initial offers fell far short of expectations.