Portugal Telecom buys top pic house

Lusomundo's prexy Silva becomes shareholder in PT

MADRID — Portugal’s biggest telco, Portugal Telecom (PT), has bought up the country’s largest film company, Lusomundo.

With the purchase, PT completes its move into Portugal’s film sector, and Luis Silva, the decades-long prexy of Lusomundo, becomes a strategic shareholder in the telco.

PT’s cable TV and Internet division, PT Multimedia (PT-MM), took a 42% stake in Lusomundo this April. It will now pay 267 million euros ($229.6 million) for the remaining 58% of the company. PT will finance the buy-up via a share issue subscribed by Silva, who will take a stake in PT of about 2%.

Move grafts a movie distribution and exhibition giant with a telco that still believes in content ownership for multiplatform delivery.

“PT’s aim is to develop business by key content ownership. Lusomundo owns such product,” said PT Multimedia chairman and CEO Eduardo Martins.

Portuguese media concentration

The PT-Lusomundo partnership also marks further media concentration in the Portuguese-speaking world, where Brazilian giant Globo TV is huddling ever closer to Portugal’s top commercial broadcaster, SIC. In August SIC and Globo inked a far-ranging, five-year exclusive agreement covering acquisition, co-production and Internet development.

PT-MM already has a cell phone operation in Brazil, Telesp, and recently acquired Brazilian Internet portal Zip.Net. Lusomundo plans to build multiplexes in the Sao Paolo region.

PT-MM is a cable TV, cell phone, Internet and e-commerce leader in Portugal. Lusomundo owns top daily newspapers Jornal de Noticias and Diario de Noticias and nearly 50% of Portugal’s cinemas, often through a joint venture with Warner Bros. Intl. Theaters. Lusomundo also has long-term film distribution accords for Portugal with UIP and Buena Vista Intl. as well as a 3,000-title film library.

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