Prisa terminates Altice deal for Media Capital

Spanish media group Prisa has terminated an agreement with multinational telco Altice to sell Portuguese media group Media Capital.

In July 2017, Altice moved to further strengthen its position in the Portuguese market by sealing an agreement to acquire Prisa’s stake in Media Capital. The Portuguese media group includes commercial broadcaster TVI, a major broadcaster of sport in the country, and the largest Portuguese content producer, Plural.

Altice agreed to acquire Prisa’s 94.7 per cent stake in Media Capital in a deal that valued the group at €440m ($519.2m), subject to debt and working capital adjustments. Altice already owns telco Portugal Telecom and said the acquisition of Media Capital formed part of its global convergence strategy, following its path in France, the United States and Israel.

However, in a statement Prisa said it yesterday (Monday) informed Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) of its decision to terminate the contract. Prisa said: “The agreement foresaw that Altice would obtain authorisation from the Portuguese competition authorities for this operation before June 16. This has failed to happen. Prisa had fulfilled all the conditions specified in the sale agreement.”

Portugal’s telco market watchdog, Anacom, last year declared that the deal would create serious competition issues and impact on consumers. In its report on the proposed deal to Portugal’s competition authority, AdC, Anacom said the proposed terms outlined five key concerns, including the barring of access to television channels. Altice is also said to have failed to explain the benefits of the proposed merger between its telco unit Meo and Media Capital.

Altice last month presented eight remedies to the concerns raised, but these were rejected. The deadline for the conclusion of the deal passed without any additional remedies put forward or an extension sought.