From David Del Valle in Madrid
The consolidation of Spanish TV is turning out to be more complicated than expected. Prisa, owner of commercial TV channel Cuatro and DTH platform Digital Plus, and Imagina, ultimate owner of TV channel La Sexta, have abandoned their negotiations to merge their TV divisions, Cuatro and La Sexta.
Disagreements over the distribution of the ownership (Prisa wanted 60-70 per cent of shares, whereas Imagina proposed a 50:50 per cent deal) have ruined merger plans after months of negotiations. Both groups have announced that they will "explore new opportunities with other TV operators", among them Mediaset-controlled Tele 5 and Antena 3 TV.
Last February, the government passed a law which eliminated a 5 per cent limit on cross shareholdings at television broadcasters. The law was intended to ease sector mergers at a time when Spain’s media is being hit by the economic crisis with advertising revenues falling by 30 per cent to June to E1,192 million against E1,706 million the same period last year, according to Infoadex