Prisa Canal Plus sale stalls
January 30, 2014
From David Del Valle in Madrid
Spain’s media group Prisa is finding it difficult to sell its 56 per cent stake in the digital DTH platform Canal Plus for the expected €1billion. None of the financial proposals have met its expectations and the company has decided to extend the initial January 31 deadline for binding offers to February 24.
Several groups have expressed their interest in acquiring the stakes. The most likely candidate is Telefonica, with a 22 per cent stake in the platform, whom Prisa is holding negotiations. The problem is that Telefonica would only be willing to pay between €500 million and €600 million for the majority of stakes. By way of comparison, in 2010 Telefonica paid €450 million for a 22 per cent stake in the DTH operator.
Other possible bidders are Canal Plus France, Rupert Murdoch, Liberty Global and Al Jazeera, but none of them would offer €1 billion for the company as hoped for by Prisa. It is understood that Murdoch only offered €200 million for the stakes.
Prisa needs to sell its stakes in Canal Plus (the platform lost €194.8 million until September 2013) to tackle its huge debt of €3.3 billion and a debt maturity of €900 million in 2015. Prisa is also to sell its 17.3 per cent stakes in Mediaset and is pulling out of Portuguese Media Capital.