Prisa bids for Sogecable

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The Spanish media group Prisa, owner of newspaper El Pais, has launched a bid for the rest of Sogecable, Spain’s largest pay-TV group, that it does not already own, valuing the pay-TV operator, owner of Digital DTH platform Digital Plus and premium channel Canal Plus, at E3.8 billion.

Prisa already has 50.03 per cent of Sogecable. Other major shareholders are Telefonica with around 17 per cent and France’s Vivendi with about 4.8 per cent.

At E27.98 per share, Prisa is paying a premium of 5.6 per cent to Sogecable’s closing market price but nearly a quarter less than the 37 euros per share it paid for a 20 per cent stake in November 2005.

“Prisa’s intention is for Sogecable to be at the core of its audiovisual activities,” the firm said in a statement. Market rumour has pointed to Prisa hiving off Sogecable’s pay-TV division Digital Plus and keeping its free-to-air TV channel Cuatro, which has been gaining market share.

A legal battle over broadcasting rights for Spanish soccer games with unlisted TV firm Mediapro has bruised Sogecable’s shares over the latter half of this year, and Prisa has taken advantage of that to build up its stake.

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