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Gotham Banking on Antena 3

MADRID – According to Spanish press reports, the New York Bank has acquired a 10.4% stake in Spain’s top-rated private web, Antena 3 TV, for 9.8 billion pesetas ($75 million).

The sale is widely interpreted in Spain as a bridging operation with the shareholding being sold on to a third party. Speculation is rife that this could be Mexico’s media conglom Televisa.

The move looks totally feasible. Televisa, the largest entertainment consortium in the Spanish-speaking world, has never hidden its interest in moving into Spain.

Under its new rep in Spain – Luis Maria Anson, director of the powerful conservative daily ABC – Televisa in November took a 17% stake in the digital platform led by Spanish telco Telefonica. Antena 3 TV also is a backer of that platform.

Last week Televisa upped its stake from 50% to 100% in indie Spanish radio net Cadena Iberica.

Antena 3 TV currently faces cash payments on loans plus its investment in Spanish soccer rights. Televisa, which looks to have a cash surplus from its sale of a 40.5% stake in PanAmSat, could supply Antena 3 TV with useful liquidity.

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