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Chinese firms exit running as three entities seek control of Imagina – report

Venture capital funds Access Industries, Advent International and Pamplona Capital Management are the three finalists in contention to acquire a controlling stake in Imagina, the operator of Spanish agency Mediapro, according to El Confidencial.

The Spanish news website said the three finalists have come forward with reported Chinese interest in the stake having fallen away in the past two months.

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, the Alisports division of e-commerce giant Alibaba and private equity firm Orient Hontai Capital had all been linked with a move for Imagina in the past. However, El Confidencial said they have exited the process due to the Chinese government’s recent efforts to rein in investment in overseas ventures and their bids having fallen short of expectations.

A stake in Imagina is up for offer because Spanish private equity firm Torreal has said it intends to sell its 23 per cent holding. Besides Torreal, advertising giant WPP also has a 23 per cent stake, while Mexican media group Televisa owns 19 per cent and directors Tatxo Benet, Jaume Roures and Gerard Romy each hold around 12 per cent.

El Confidencial said that along with Torreal’s stake, remaining shareholders have committed to give up at least a 51 per cent share in Imagine, with Televisa dropping its entire package.