Buyout firms, Discovery eye ProSieben units-sources
* BC Partners, EQT, Providence, Discovery showed interest
* Price tag seen at up to 1.4 bln euros
* Final bids due later this months
By Sven Nordenstam and Arno Schuetze
STOCKHOLM/FRANKFURT, Oct 10 (Reuters) - ProSiebenSat1
has attracted interest from private equity firms and a media group for its Scandinavian operations, which could sell for up to 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion), three people familiar with the sale process said.
Private equity firms BC Partners , EQT, Providence Equity Partners and network Discovery Communications have shown interest for the assets, according to two people, who declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to media.
ProSieben had attempted to sell the division last year but cancelled the process as offers were too low. However, in August this year, the German media company said it was looking into the possibility of selling again after having received expressions of interest for the division.
Two people said offers, which are likely to come in later this month, could be between 1.2 billion and 1.4 billion euros.
The unit is considered an attractive asset in economic uncertain times.
"It's based in stable economies outside the euro zone so very interesting for a lot of bidders," a person familiar with the process said.
ProSieben's Nordic activities generated 476 million euros in 2011 revenue out of a group total of 2.97 billion euros. The group has not disclosed separate earnings results.
In the first half of this year ProSieben reported increases in its key audiences in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
In Denmark market share jumped to 18.9 percent from 16.2 percent a year earlier, while it has a 18.8 percent of the Norwegian markets, up from 16.9 percent a year earlier.
Discovery Communications, whose cable networks also include TLC and Animal Planet, showed interest in the unit last year. "They were the first ones to show renewed interest in the business this year," a person close to ProSieben said.
The person also said the company would not hesitate to keep the asset if bids again came in too low.
Any proceeds from the sale would likely be used for debt reduction.
Modern Times Group , one of the bidders last year, is not mulling an offer, however. The Swedish company would run into regulatory obstacles, a person close to the group said.
BC Partners, EQT and Discovery Communications declined to comment. Providence did not reply to requests for comment.
"There are interested parties for these attractive assets. We have not received any indicative offers," said a ProSieben spokesman, declining to give any further comment.
ProSieben is controlled by private equity firms KKR & Co
and Permira , who together own 88 percent of voting shares. Dutch publisher Telegraaf Media Group owns 12 percent of voting shares. ($1 = 0.7754 euros)
(Additional reporting by Peter Maushagen and Philipp Halstrick in Frankfurt, Simon Meads in London, Jennifer Saba in New York, Writing by Harro ten Wolde)
Keywords: PROSIEBEN NORDICS/