ProSieben can curb leverage without having to rush dating IPO - CEO

BERLIN, Nov 5 (Reuters) - ProSiebenSat.1 Media is entering a recovery that will enable it to reduce its debt burden without having to hurry up an initial public offering of its online dating business planned for 2022, CEO Rainer Beaujean told Reuters.

Although the Munich broadcaster reported its first rise in core earnings in 2-1/2 years in the third quarter, sending shares 12% higher, the coronavirus pandemic has stretched its leverage ratio to an uncomfortable 3.7 times.

Beaujean has carved out the group’s recently-expanded dating franchise into a separate division, called ParshipMeet Group, positioning it as a growth play that would command a premium to beaten down entertainment stocks.

Asked whether he would consider hurrying up the IPO, Beaujean said: “2022 is the goal because we need a full year (of results) as a comparison. We will definitely not go before Dec. 31, 2021.” (Reporting by Douglas Busvine Editing by Michelle Adair)