Buy-out group in ProSieben channels bid

US private equity group Hellman & Friedman has teamed up with Patrick Tillieux, the former head of SBS Broadcasting, to bid for the Benelux and Nordic television channels he used to run, which are being sold by Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1.

The €2 billion+ auction is still in its early stages, according to ProSieben. As many as 18 suitors are expected to be faceted down to a smaller shortlist, with Hellman & Friedman competing with several trade bidders.

John De Mol, the co-founder of Endemol, the company behind the television programme Big Brother, confirmed on Dutch television last week that he wanted to acquire ProSieben’s Dutch and Belgian channels. Other bidders include Sanoma, the Finnish media group, and De Persgroep, the Flemish media company that also owns Dutch language newspapers. The Modern Times Group, the Swedish television operator, is also interested in the Scandinavian assets.

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