German pay TV provider Premiere is looking to go public on the German stock exchange during the first half of this year, sources close to the company confirmed Jan. 12.

COLOGNE, Germany (The Hollywood Reporter) -- German pay TV provider Premiere is looking to go public on the German stock exchange during the first half of this year, sources close to the company confirmed Jan. 12.

The Munich-based group is expected to announce the exact date of its initial public offering, as well as financial details -- such as the number of shares to be floated and their expected sales price -- in the coming weeks, they said.

The float is expected to be one of the biggest European issues of the year, according to market observers. The company has been valued at more than $3 billion.

Premiere has been riding high as of late after boasting record subscriber growth last year, which has pushed its total user level to 3.25 million in Germany. For 2004, Premiere added 340,000 subscribers, a gain of 11.7% compared with 2003.

The company also has attracted a lot of attention from industry watchers by ending its long run of red ink. The company turned a profit for the first time ever in the third quarter of last year.

Premiere is controlled by U.K. investment group Permira, which holds a 55% stake in the firm, Kofler (20.5%), German banks Bayerische Landesbank and HypoVereinsbank (10% each), Austrian investment group Bawag (3.5%) and private investors Michael Boernicke (0.64%) and Hans Seger (0.64%).

Sources said the Premiere IPO will be managed by Morgan Stanley, HypoVereinsbank and Credit Suisse.

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