October 10, 2019 / 11:31 AM / 4 days ago

ProSieben's U.S. production assets attract strategic buyers - sources

NEW YORK/FRANKFURT, Oct 10 (Reuters) - ProSiebenSat.1 Media's U.S. production business, which includes the maker of crime drama 'Bosch', is attracting interest from strategic buyers and the German broadcaster aims for a sale by year-end, sources familiar with the matter said.

Morgan Stanley is managing the sale of the U.S. operations, which account for around $350 million of international production business Red Arrow's total annual revenues of $600 million, the sources said.

Binding bids were due by the end of October, and French media companies Vivendi and Banijay may show interest in the U.S. content operations, one of the sources said.

Other potential strategic investors were less keen, and there was also limited interest from private equity for an asset with a likely enterprise value of more than 250 million euros ($276 million), a second source said.

CEO Max Conze wants to refresh a catalogue that was heavy with U.S. shows that failed to capture German television audiences. ProSieben took a charge against the cost of those flops earlier this year, denting its earnings.

The broadcaster has since scored a hit with 'The Masked Singer', its rendition of a Korean costumed celebrity singing contest whose finale drew an audience share of 38% in Germany - ProSieben's best primetime rating since 2010.

ProSieben wants to keep its German production operations, as well as digital outlet Studio71, the sources said.

Banijay declined to comment, while no immediate comment was available from Vivendi. ($1 = 0.9066 euros) (Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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