October 25, 2019 / 11:09 AM / a month ago

ProSieben welcomes Kretinsky investment as strategic endorsement: CEO

BERLIN (Reuters) - ProSiebenSat.1 Media (PSMGn.DE) said on Friday the decision by a group of Czech and Slovak investors to buy a 4% stake was an endorsement of the German broadcaster’s strategy.

German media company ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE Chief Executive Max Conze speaks to reporters during a briefing in Berlin, Germany, October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

Czech Media Investment (CMI), a vehicle for a group led by billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, disclosed the stake last week, saying it valued ProSieben’s broadcast brand, its position in the German market and its digital strategy.

“I am very positive about the investment,” ProSieben Chief Executive Max Conze told reporters at a briefing. “From their statement, it’s clear that they understand what we are trying to achieve - and that we are undervalued.”

Conze has invested 2 million euros ($2.2 million) of his own money in ProSieben stock to back his growth strategy, although the stock is down 10% so far in 2019.

CMI has said the ProSieben stake, worth $140 million, was not a strategic investment. Conze said he planned to meet the investors after ProSieben reports quarterly results next month.

Conze, who joined from British appliance maker Dyson last year, is refocusing on local content and digital expansion through streaming app Joyn - a joint venture with Discovery Inc (DISCA.O).

The firm is also focusing on addressable advertising, where marketers target viewers based on where they live or what they watch, and on influencer marketing via its Studio71 unit, which has stable of YouTube personalities popular with young viewers.

ProSieben’s proposed sale of the U.S. part of international production arm Red Arrow Studios had attracted interest from 20 media and private-equity investors, he said, adding a deal could be reached by the end of 2019 if the price was right.

Conze said an initial public offering in Nucom, ProSieben’s e-commerce joint venture with General Atlantic, was two or three years away. “Of course we’re interested in realizing the value that we are creating in Nucom,” he said.

This could involve floating a minority stake or listing one or more of its divisions, which span dating, consumer advice, experiences and adventure, as well as lifestyle.

Nucom aimed to grow organically and through acquisitions, Conze said.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Edmund Blair

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