RIO DE JANEIRO — Silvio Santos, the owner of No. 2 Brazilian broadcaster SBT, has denied that he is selling a stake to Mexico’s Grupo Televisa.
The normally press-averse media tycoon created uproar when he revealed plans of his “sale and terminal illness” to Brazilian tabloid Contigo, which published the article last week.
Santos, interviewed Friday from Celebration, Florida, by a crew from “Boa Noite Brasil,” said he was joking.
Televisa said it was not in talks to exercise or even evaluating its option to buy a 30% stake in SBT.
The two are proceeding with a new novela co-production — the sixth under a 2001 accord but the first since SBT and Televisa renegotiated terms of the five-year, $200 million deal.
Casting begins today on the Portuguese-lingo remake of Televisa’s 1996 “Canaveral de Pasiones,” which will bow in Brazil in September in the 8:45-9:30 p.m. slot.
The 2001 deal gave SBT exclusive rights to air dubbed versions of soaps from Televisa — the world’s leading producer in the genre — and to remake Televisa scripts at SBT studios in Sao Paulo.
Televisa provides its scripts, expertise and some of the production team, giving SBT a leg up in its bid to erode the market share of dominant local broadcaster TV Globo.