Prisa, Mediapro end soccer war

Digital Plus to air all soccer league matches

MADRID — Spain’s Prisa-Mediapro soccer war is over — at least, for now.

Prisa-owned satcaster Digital Plus will broadcast all of Spain’s soccer league matches and King’s Cup matches from the 2009-10 to 2011-12 season on a non-exclusive basis, Prisa announced around the stroke of midnight Thursday.

Deal also includes exclusive rights to a Sunday night game, to be aired by Digital Plus’ Canal Plus premium pay TV service.

Mediapro and Prisa have committed to try to reach an out-of-court settlement to pending law suits following Mediapro’s purchase of Spanish soccer rights for upcoming seasons.

Prisa and Imagina, a joint venture of Mediapro with Madrid production giant Globomedia, have given themselves one month to negotiate the creation of a joint holding. This would pool their film and TV rights, including soccer assets, Prisa announced late Thursday in a note to Spain’s Cnmv stock market regulator.

Imagina is the controlling shareholder in broadcaster La Sexta; Prisa owns fellow terrestrial station Cuatro: Talks will turn in part on an Sexta-Cuatro merger, at least at the level of rights assets.

No price was announced for Prisa’s purchase of soccer rights. But Spain’s bourse reacted positively to the deal. Prisa stock climbed 7% in Friday morning trading as part of a spectacular 36% rally in Prisa share value from Wednesday, as rumors mounted of an imminent Prisa-Mediapro settlement.

As Prisa seeks to sell Digital Plus, the deal should increase the satcaster’s value, encouraging new subscriptions, an analyst said.

Among multiple scenarios, the analyst didn’t rule out Telefonica and Vivendi, which have already launched a joint bid for Digital Plus, taking stakes in the new Prisa-Mediapro rights holding.

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