Admira cries in Argentina

Azul sale drags down telco with $160.5 mil loss

MADRID — Hit by crashing ad revenues at Argentinean broadcaster Telefe, Admira reported first-half losses of e305.6 million ($304.7 million), up 95% from a year earlier. First half revenues slumped 30% to $477.3 million.

Admira, the film and TV subsid of Spanish telco Telefonica, posted a $160.5 million extraordinary loss on its sale of Argentinean weblet Azul TV in June.

It also took at hit from Europe’s ad slump, which even punished program sales at its Dutch TV giant Endemol. Revenues at Endemol dropped 17% to $371.9 million.

Telefonica announced first half losses of $5.5 billion driven by a $4.9 billion writedown from the suspension of its 3G cell-phone operations in Germany.

With its back to the financial wall, Telefonica may take German giant Bertelsmann’s overtures for select media assets, such as Endemol, a little more seriously. Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff met Telefonica prexy Cesar Alierta and Terra Lycos prexy Joaquim Agut this week in Madrid.

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