Sky might join Digital+ bid

Prisa is Spain’s largest media conglomerate (it publishes El Pais, for example), and is selling its Digital+ pay-TV business in order to clear some heavy debt obligations. Prisa hasn’t been helped by the tumbling ad market, and there are also concerns that local rivals like ONO and its IPTV rivals are making better headway than satellite.

Now there seems to be something of a long queue waiting to carry out Due Diligence (also known as having an officially-sanctioned peek at your neighbour’s business) at Digital+. The range of offers already on the table, according to the Financial Times, stretches from $3.95bn to $4.2bn. Digital Plus has 2.1m subs.

"The fact there are several bidders is good news for Prisa," said Luis Padrón, a Fortis Bank analyst. "This shows the operator is an
interesting active for the market."

Telefonica is already said to have made an offer, as has Vivendi (which, if successful, would see it returning to the Spanish pay-TV market). A report in El Pais states that Telecinco (owned by Italy’s Mediaset), and cable operator ONO have also expressed interests. Other names recently reported to be interested include Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim and France Telecom’s Orange subsidiary.

BSkyB and/or News Corp is also rumoured to be a possibility. If this does happen then one way or another Rupert Murdoch will own, control or influence pay-TV operations over much of Europe including Sky Italia (100% News Corp), BSkyB (39%) and Premiere (25%).

At the end of June, Digital+ had 2.08 million subscribers and generated EBITDA of €175.6 million for the first half of this year.

Morgan Stanley and HSBC are advising Prisa in the Digital+ sale process.

(Source: Rapid TV News)