A consortium led by the Finnish publisher Sanoma Corporation will acquire the Dutch and Belgian SBS channels from the German ProSiebenSat.1 Group for €1.225 billion.
In The Netherlands, Sanoma is joined by John de Mol’s Talpa Holding NV, and in Belgium the newspaper and publishing group Corelio NV and the Waterman & Waterman, the holding company from Wouter Vandenhaute and Erik Watté. Sanoma will acquire 67% of the Dutch operations of SBS Broadcasting, with 33% going to Talpa.
The acquisition of the Dutch SBS channels is subject to approval by the competition authority NMA. The assets include three national TV channels, SBS6, Net 5 and Veronica, as well as the publishing activities of Veronica, which include the country’s best selling TV Guide Veronica Magazine and the satellite TV Guide Totaal TV.
In Belgium, Sanoma will team up with the media group Corelio and Wouter Vandenhaute & Erik Watté, the founders of Woestijnvis, a leading TV production company in Flanders. Each partner will hold a 33.3% share of the company.
The net sales of the acquired companies totalled €404 million in 2010 (pro forma, unaudited) and their operating profit was about €110 million. Sanoma’s share of the new operations will be reported in the Sanoma Media division. For The Netherlands, Sanoma will consolidate 100% of SBS. The current Dutch SBS management will report to a new established Supervisory Board, four members of which are appointed by Sanoma and two by Talpa Media. The Belgian SBS activities will be part of De Vijver, which will be headed by Wouter Vandenhaute. The partners will establish an executive board, with three members from each company.
The production business in The Netherlands and Belgium is not included in the transaction and will remain part of ProSiebenSat.1 Group. The price is equal to 10.6 times assets, based on full-year 2010 adjusted EBITDA of €115 million for the operations. ProSiebenSat.1 said this represents a significant strategic premium on its group trading multiple, bringing its strategic review to a successful close. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt.
In The Netherlands, SBS is number two in the TV advertising market. Its net sales (2010) amount to €316 million. In the acquisition, Sanoma and Talpa Media will obtain TV channels SBS 6, Net 5 and Veronica (27% of the TV advertising market), as well as a TV guide business. Together with Sanoma Media’s existing assets, Sanoma will become a leading media player in The Netherlands with a highly attractive multimedia offering. With Talpa Media’s valuable TV expertise and access to best-in-market local content and personalities, SBS will be able to grow its viewing and advertising shares.
“Sanoma has strong brands, making the company a great cooperation partner, the SBS transaction offers three additional TV channels for Talpa Content and Talpa Productions to create and produce our formats for. Besides that, the number of possible combinations with Sanoma magazines and online services is enormous. Both as an investor in the media industry and as a content developer, I am very pleased with this unique opportunity,” stated John de Mol.
In Belgium, SBS operates in the Dutch-speaking market, where it is the number 2 commercial TV player. Its net sales in 2010 totalled €88 million. SBS Belgium includes TV channels VT 4 and VIJFTV, with a 27% share of the Flanders TV advertising market. The company will be owned by De Vijver, in which Sanoma, Corelio and Wouter Vandenhaute & Erik Watté will have equal ownership of shares. Next to SBS Belgium, De Vijver will contain the production company Woestijnvis and the weekly magazine Humo.
“Sanoma, Corelio and Wouter Vandenhaute & Erik Watté are perfectly complementary partners, and joining forces for the acquisition of the Belgian SBS channels offers us additional guarantees to success. Our alliance will bring new energy to the TV sector, which will be beneficial to both viewers and advertisers,” said Corelio CEO Luc Missorten.
WATCH VIDEO – See the 50 minute webcast ‘Sanoma acquires Benelux TV operations’ on the Sanoma website with Harri-Pekka Kaukonen (CEO, Sanoma) and Kim Ignatius (CFO, Sanoma).