Telefonica Takes Full Control of Canal Plus Spain

The acquisition comes the day after rival telecom Vodafone got the greenlight to buy cable operator ONO.

MADRID – Spanish telecom Telefonica said Friday it agreed to buy full ownership of pay-TV company Canal Plus Spain by acquiring Mediaset’s 22 percent stake.

The move comes on the heels of Telefonica’s purchase of Prisa’s 56 percent stake in the company formally known as Distruidora de Television (DTS), which Telefonica had previously already owned 22 percent.

Mediaset Spain announced the sale would mean €325 million ($442 million) for the Spanish broadcaster, in addition to up to €30 million ($40.8 million) over the next four years for new pay-TV subscribers.

The Spanish telecom announced an expansion strategy earlier this year via its Movistar Fusion TV with an eye on bundling services that saw it bulking up its presence in the pay-TV market, buttressed by key sports rights like Formula 1, European Cup 2016, the World Cup 2018 and UEFA rights for the next four years.

Telefonica's Movistar TV will launch its own thematic channel in September, focused exclusively on international soccer matches.

Vodafone, the Spanish stalwart's main rival, is undertaking a similar strategy of bundling services, having just acquired Spain's leading cable operator Ono for €7.2 billion in a deal that European authorities approved Thursday.