Spain's Telefonica Makes $1 Billion Offer for Control of Prisa's Pay TV Arm

6:36 AM PST 05/07/2014 by Pamela Rolfe

The bid to take a 80 percent stake in Digital Plus, in which the company already owns a small stake, would help current owner Prisa reduce its debt.

MADRID – Spanish telecom giant Telefonica has offered media conglomerate Prisa Group about $1 billion to increase its small stake in the country's biggest pay TV platform Digital Plus to a majority holding.

Telefonica currently owns a 22 percent stake and has long had its eye on taking control of Digital Plus, which owns the lion’s share of coveted sports rights, including for matches featuring ever-popular soccer teams Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

The company on Wednesday unveiled a binding offer of €725 million for a 56 percent stake.

 

Meanwhile, for debt-laden publishing and media group Prisa, the deal would provide a much-needed cash infusion.

Telefonica is not only looking to increase its ability to bundle packages of broadband and television services. Its offer also comes at a time when the company is looking to persuade European anti-trust regulators to greenlight a separate deal to buy German mobile operator E-plus from Dutch company KPN.

In July, Telefonica agreed to a cash and stock deal to buy E-plus for some $11.3 billion (€8.1 billion), but the deal is on hold as regulators assess if it will create unfair competition in Germany’s mobile and landline services. The deal would give Telefonica a slice of the German market equal to T-Mobile and Vodafone.

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