Alierta denies rumors of sale to Bertelsmann

MADRID — Cesar Alierta, prexy of giant Spanish telco Telefonica, rebuffed speculation and reports about the future of film and TV subsid Telefonica Media on Thursday.

He denied newspaper reports that there were plans to sell off TM to Germany’s Bertelsmann, describing Telefonica Media as a “strategic asset” for the company’s wide-band future.

Speaking at his first press conference since replacing Juan Villalonga as topper last July, Alierta also said TM would not go public at the end of the year because European media stock values are too “depressed.” A flotation could, however, take place in the mid-term.

In a reference to TM’s 5% stake in U.K. media company Pearson, Alierta said that, given the undervalued state of media shares, he did not plan to divest assets immediately. Telefonica execs have confirmed, however, that a Pearson sale is on the agenda once the share price has recovered.

Sale of the Pearson shareholding would represent a valuable cash injection for Telefonica Media, which posted losses of 104.4 billion pesetas ($538.1 million) last year.

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