Telefonica SA seeks to gain full ownership of Spain’s Digital Plus

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Madrid, Spain (4E) – Telefonica SA will purchase Mediaset SpA’s stake in Digital Plus, or DTS, as it tries to gain complete ownership of the Spanish pay-TV operator to increase its offerings and address slowing revenue.

Telefonica agreed to pay 295mn euros ($401mn) for the 22 percent stake of Mediaset in DTS, according to a statement from Spain’s largest phone company on Friday. Telefonica already owns a 22 percent stake in DTS and is awaiting approval to acquire the rest of the company from Promotora de Informaciones SA, or Prisa.

Madrid-based Telefonica agreed in June to acquire 56 percent of DTS from Prisa in a deal valued at 750mn euros. By accepting Telefonica’s offer, Mediaset has agreed to waive an option to bid for Prisa’s stake.

Telefonica’s Spanish revenue fell to 13bn euros last year from 21.2bn euros in 2008 amid a recession and a price war among mobile carriers.

Digital Plus owns the broadcasting rights to Spanish soccer matches. Meanwhile, Mediaset Spa is controlled by former Italian prime minister and media magnate, Silvio Berlusconi.

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