Spanish groups in TV merger talks

Spain’s main private sector media groups Thursday confirmed they were in talks on two separate tie-ups with at least one of the deals imminent. Antena 3 and La Sexta, television stations controlled by Barcelona-based media groups, are nearing a merger agreement, according to several people close to the talks. If it goes ahead, a combination could create Spain’s largest broadcaster by market share, with about 22 per cent of the audience. But a mooted separate deal involving Telecinco, owned by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset group, and the TV interests of the Prisa media group, would top this with an audience share of about 25 per cent. Antena 3 denied reports that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with La Sexta, but it said in a regulatory filing Thursday it had “been in talks with various operators in the sector – including La Sexta – to explore possible ways of integrating audiovisual businesses”. Industry talks have intensified this year as companies grapple with a sharp downturn in advertising revenues. Madrid this year modified legislation covering the sector to facilitate consolidation, although it set a ceiling of 30 per cent market share. Bankers say the move by advertisers to the internet and other new media formats was forcing a strategic rethink at newspaper, radio, and TV groups. Consolidation has been spurred by the imminent move to digital terrestrial television. DTT will widen the scope for free-to-air broadcasters to launch multiple pay-TV services.,Authorised=false.html?


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