PT makes play for sports empire

Cofina, Prisa also shortlisted

LISBON — Portugal Telecom has opened negotiations with sports empire Olivedesportos after the latter’s ¤300 million ($395 million) bid for Lusomundo Media, whose assets include TSF radio station and three newspapers.

Portugal’s Cofina, which already owns a 19.1% stake in Lusomundo Media, and Spain’s Prisa also have been shortlisted for the sale. There are reports that Prisa is negotiating with Olivedesportos to acquire TSF as part of the deal.

Formal proposals from Media Capital and Spain’s Vocento have been rejected.

Olivedesportos’ assets include a 50% stake in the pay TV channel SportTV in partnership with PT, equity stakes in Portugal’s main soccer clubs, and leading sports newspaper O Jogo.

PT acquired Lusomundo in 2000 for $577 million. This acquisition included Lusomundo’s cinema, video and pay TV interests, which are not for sale.

One potential barrier to the sale is the recent change of government in Portugal.

The incoming Socialist Party is likely to encourage changes in PT’s board of directors and has doubts about the sale due to media concentration.

Nonetheless, prime minister Jose Socrates is in favor of the transfer of Lusomundo’s media assets into private hands.

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