Tellenbach exits SBS board


COLOGNE, Germany -- Markus Tellenbach, former CEO and president of SBS, has resigned from the board of the pan-European broadcasting company as it prepares to merge with German group ProSiebenSat.1.

Tellenbach has been with SBS since 2001, first as chief operating officer, then as CEO and finally as president of the company that controls TV channels in nine European countries.

Tellenbach resigned as CEO in 2005 following the sale of a majority stake of SBS to private equity companies Permira and KKR for €2.1 billion. It was the biggest deal of Tellenbach's career and crowned his tenure at SBS.

Under his command, SBS saw revenue surge €879 million in 2005 from €480 million in 2001 and operating profits (EBITDA) skyrocket to €145 million in 2005 from €21 million four years earlier.

"Under Markus' leadership, SBS has developed from a collection of broadcasters into a highly successful multimedia group with a strong management team," SBS chairman Dominic Murphy said in a statement Thursday.

Now SBS is set to become even bigger. KKR/Permira, which acquired a controlling stake in Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 for $4 billion late last year, plans to merge the two companies to create Europe's second-largest broadcaster.

ProSiebenSat.1 is Germany's largest commercial broadcaster, controlling five free and four pay TV channels as well as recently launched VOD service Maxdome.

SBS is a major player in Scandinavia, Benelux and parts of Eastern Europe.

By combining the two, KKR/Permira hopes to create a pan-European powerhouse that can take on Europe's largest TV company, Bertelsmann-controlled RTL Group.