From David Del Valle in Madrid
Approval last week of new legislation that allows TV cross-ownership has paved the way for a planned merger between the Spanish commercial channels Sogecable-controlled Cuatro and La Sexta.
Both companies have been negotiating over the last weeks to set up a holding group that would encompass the two channels with Cuatro playing a leading role and La Sexta acting as a second TV channel. The group would be presided by Manuel Polanco (from Sogecable) and with Tatxo Benet (from Mediapro, shareholder in La Sexta) as the CEO.
The aim is to turn Cuatro into a big TV channel, with an audience share of 13 per cent, able to compete in size with Antena 3 and Tele 5, with La Sexta being a minority channel with a different and more specialised content. With their merger, the two companies would put an end to their current fight for controlling the football TV rights as in that case both would control them for Mediapro, shareholder in La Sexta, has the majority rights to all Spanish Football teams.
Their merger would not probably be the last one as Tele 5 and Antena 3 TV might follow suit with their approach to Veo TV and Net TV. The new legislation allows those mergers as long as they do not exceed 27 per cent of the total audience and as long as there are three different national channels.