US group approves plan to invest in El Pais owner Prisa

25th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Shareholders of US investment group Liberty Acquisitions Holdings have approved a plan to inject around 650 million euros into Prisa, the owner of El Pais newspaper and Spain's biggest media company.

"The agreement with Liberty will help the Prisa Group to expand internationally, particularly in the US, Brazil, Mexico and the rest of Latin America," Prisa said in a statement late Wednesday.

The deal was approved by 74 percent of Liberty shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting in the United States. It is expected to be approved by Prisa shareholders at a meeting on Saturday.

Under the agreement between the two firms first reached in March, family members related to Prisa's founder, Jesus de Polanco, will see their holdings fall to about 35 percent from 70 percent in exchange for the cash injection.

After the Liberty deal, the company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Prisa owns Spain's leading daily El Pais and other newspapers as well as interests in television, radio and digital platforms in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, where it generates about a fifth of its annual revenues.

The company, founded after Spain returned to democracy following the death of military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, has been seeking fresh capital since early this year to refinance its debt of nearly 5.0 billion euros (6.5 billion dollars).

It posted a first-half net profit of 60.9 million euros, more than double the amount of year earlier but this was due mostly from the sale of assets.

© 2010 AFP

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