Chaim Saban – Haim Saban

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Haim Saban ( hebr. ‏חיים סבן Chaim Saban‎; * 15. Oktober 1944 in Alexandria, Ägypten) ist einer der größten Medienunternehmer der Welt und Milliardär. Haim Saban besitzt die israelische und die amerikanische Staatsbürgerschaft.

Als Sohn jüdischer Eltern wuchs er in ärmlichen Verhältnissen in Ägypten auf. Sein Vater verkaufte Büroartikel, seine Mutter war Schneiderin. Als er 12 Jahre alt war, zog seine Familie nach Tel Aviv.

Chaim Saban versuchte sich zunächst als Konzertveranstalter in Israel, war aber 1973 nach einem Konzertflop zahlungsunfähig. Nach einigen Quellen versuchte sich Chaim Saban in dieser Zeit auch als Bassist in einer Band.

Trotz hoher Schulden zog Chaim Saban nach Paris und versuchte sich dort als Musikproduzent für TV-Filmmusik („Dallas“). 1983, nach ersten Erfolgen, ging er mit 500.000 US-Dollar nach Los Angeles. Dort importierte er zunächst japanische Zeichentrickfilme. 1993 schaffte er mit den Power Rangers den Durchbruch.

1995 gründete er mit Rupert Murdoch ein Joint Venture und startete den Kinderkanal Fox Kids.

Er gilt als guter Freund des Ex-US-Präsidenten Bill Clinton. In Israel hat er Sympathien für Shimon Peres und die Arbeitspartei.

Durch die Übernahme von Anteilen der KirchMedia Gruppe (siehe auch: Leo Kirch) im August 2003 gehörte er auch zu den einflußreichsten Personen in der deutschen Medienlandschaft; Chaim Saban war unter anderem Hauptaktionär der ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. Im Dezember 2006 verkauften Saban und die Investoren um ihn herum mit hohem Gewinn die Anteile an der ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG an ein Konsortium von Permira und KKR.

Im Januar 2006 wurde ein Antrag auf die Übernahme der ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG durch den Axel Springer Verlag vom Bundeskartellamt mit der Begründung einer potentiellen „Duopolstellung“ zusammen mit der Bertelsmann-Gruppe (gemeinsamer TV-Marktanteil: 40%) abgewiesen.

In der Zeit bis August 2005 machte Sabans Medienkonzern ein gewaltiges Plus, das dem Medienmogul einen großen Gewinn eingebracht hat: Geschätzte 800 Millionen EUR investierten er und seine Partner 2003 inkl. einer späteren Kapitalerhöhung, der Marktwert im August 2005 lag bei fast 2,5 Milliarden EUR. Einen ähnlichen Erfolg konnte er schon 2001 erzielen, als er den zusammen mit Rupert Murdoch aufgebauten Familiensender Fox Family an Walt Disney für 5,3 Milliarden Dollar (damals ca. 5,6 Milliarden EUR) verkaufte.

Haim Saban (Hebrew: חיים סבן‎) (born 15 October 1944) is an Egyptian born Israeli-American television and media proprietor. With an estimated current net worth of $3.5 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 104th richest person in America.

In 1956, the Saban family immigrated to Israel along with the bulk of the Egyptian Jewish community. Saban was sent to a Youth Aliyah boarding school. Expelled for being a troublemaker, he enrolled in a night school where the principal told him: “You’re not cut out for academic studies; you’re cut out for making money.” Saban is married to Cheryl Saban (née Chackler), with whom he has two children. He also has two stepchildren, Tifany and Heidi Lenhart. He resides in Beverly HillsCalifornia.

Saban started his career in 1966 as a bass player and manager with the rock band The Lions of Judah (Ha’arayot). In 1969 Dave Watts from the British band The Tornados joined The Lions. That year, the band traveled to England, performed in night clubs in London and was signed up by Polydor Records. In July 1969, the band appeared on the BBC TV programme Colour Me Pop. The Lions recorded a single, „Our Love’s A Growing Thing”, but it was not released in the UK due to financial difficulties. The band returned to Israel and Saban focused on being a music promoter.

In the early 1970s Saban moved to France where he worked as a music producer. His clients included Noam KanielMike Brant and Shuki & Aviva. He also launched a record company with Shuki Levy.

In 1978 and 1982, Saban used the pseudonym Kussa for music/lyrics writing credits on four records for which he also served as producer using his real name. Since then, he has frequently used the name Kussa Mahchi for his composing credits on Saban Entertainment productions, including the Mighty Morphin‘ Power Rangers: The Movie theme song.

Saban became involved in politics in the mid-1990s when he felt that support for Israel was slipping in the United States. He says his views have shifted over the years: „I used to be a real leftist. I remember Arik Sharon [the leader of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party] coming here, to my house, a few months before Camp David, when he was still leader of the opposition. He told me there would be no deal because [Yassir] Arafat would not sign. I told myself that there was nothing to be done — these right-wingers were simply insane. I had no doubt that there would be a deal and the problems would be resolved. History proved that Sharon was right and I was wrong. In matters relating to security, that moved me to the right. Very far to the right…When there is a terrorist attack, I am [Avigdor] Lieberman. Sometimes to the right of Lieberman. For two days I really love Lieberman. But afterward I come back to reality. Look, I don’t see a solution today.“

Saban has been a generous and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings. Mother Jones, in an analysis of the major donors to the campaigns of 1998 election cycle, ranked Saban 155th among individual donors. Amy Paris noted that Saban’s Clinton-era „generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President’s Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues.“[ The New York Timesreported that Haim and his wife „slept in the White House several times during President Clinton’s two terms.“ Saban remains close friends to the former President. Clinton described Saban as a „very good friend and supporter.“ Saban contributed between $5 million to $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation.

During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500. Matthew Yglesias wrote that „Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle.“  Saban’s donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time.

In September 2004, Hillary Clinton described Saban as a very good friend, supporter and adviser: „I am grateful for his commitment to Israel, to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to my foundation’s work, particularly on reconciliation issues.“ In May 2007, Haim publicly declared his support for Clinton in 2008 presidential election.

In June 2007, Saban and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at the house of Peter Chernin, the President of News Corporation. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fundraiser brought in over $850,000.

In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to „keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries.“ The donors, who „were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign“, „were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party ‚superdelegates‚ should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate.“ The letter to Pelosi stated the donors „have been strong supporters of the DCCC“ and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.

On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had „offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization’s two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse the New York Democrat.“

Saban has also made donations to members of the Republican Party including a 2003 contribution to George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

In 2002 Saban provided an initial grant of 13 million USD and a pledge of additional funds to create the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank based in Washington, D.C.. The Saban Center is part of the larger Brookings Institution think tank. TheSaban Center aims to provide policy makers in government with information and analysis regarding America’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Saban recruited Martin Indyk to direct the center.

In the United States, he became a television producer, founding Saban Entertainment in 1988. During that time, Haim Saban and partnerShuki Levy became known for soundtrack compositions for children’s television programs of the 1980s. Although Levy and Saban composed for their own properties (such as Kidd Video and Maple Town), they scored for other production companies as well (such as Inspector GadgetThe Mysterious Cities of GoldM.A.S.K.DinosaucersDragon QuestHe-Man and the Masters of the UniverseShe-Ra: Princess of Power, and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors). In 1998, The Hollywood Reporter reported that he did not actually compose all the music (totalling 3,700 works in 2008) he is credited for; ten composers threatened to sue and Saban settled out of court.

In the 1990s, Saban’s company became best known for the production of Power RangersMasked RiderVR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs, which were Western adaptations of Japanese tokusatsu shows.

In 2003, he headed the $5.7 billion purchase of Kirch Media Group, the then-bankrupt German media conglomerate.

On July 23, 2001, Saban announced that he and News Corporation would sell Fox Family Worldwide Inc for $5.3 billion to The Walt Disney Company. and on October 24, 2001, the sale was completed and the network was renamed ABC Family. Saban profited about $1.6 billion from this sale.

On June 27, 2006, Saban Capital Group led a group of investors bidding for Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States. Other investors in the Saban-led group were Texas Pacific Group of Fort Worth, Texas and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The group was successful in acquiring Univision with a bid valued at $13.7 billion (USD).

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