Planeta, RTL set to up Antena 3 stakes

Telefonica takes second step to exit b'caster

MADRID — Planeta/De Agostini and the RTL Group look set to up their stakes in Spanish web Antena 3 when owner Telefonica distributes a 30% stake in its private broadcaster among its shareholders on Tuesday. According to a document submitted to Spain’s CNMV stock market authorities on Friday, Telefonica shareholders will be able to sell their shares beginning Oct. 29. The share issue price is tabbed at E25.20 ($29.30), valuing Antena 3 at $1.6 billion.

Telefonica’s decision is the second step in its exit from Antena 3. The giant Spanish telco sold a controlling 25% stake to Planeta/De Agostini in April.

In June, the two companies inked a shareholders’ pact setting ceilings of 49.9% and 35% for their respective shareholdings in Antena 3.

The CNMV documentation also lays out writedowns of $207.9 million for TV series that bombed as well as for lapsed or devalued TV rights.

The provisions mean that Antena 3 will post an estimated full-year loss of $105.2 million for 2003, against a 2002 deficit of $34.8 million, despite far better operating margins this year.

(Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report).

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