Portugal Telecom buys pic producer

Company to bid $172.8 mil

MADRID — In a move that heralds the beginning of an international media partnership targeting the Portuguese-speaking world, Portugal’s biggest telecommmunications company, Portugal Telecom, has bought into the country’s largest film and publishing company, Lusomundo.

PT Multimedia, the cable TV and Internet division of PT, will make an agreed bid of $172.8 million for a 42% stake in a new holding company that will own 100% of Lusomundo.

Lusomundo shareholders, represented by chairman Luis Silva, will retain a 58% participation in the still-to-be named joint venture.

In a now classic fit, the accord meshes a movie distribution and exhibition giant with a telco’s financial muscle, technological reach and multi-distribution platforms.

PT-MM is a cable, cell phone, Internet and e-commerce leader in Portugal. Lusomundo owns top daily newspapers Jornal de Noticias and Diario de Noticias and nearly 50% of Portugal’s cinema theaters, many through a joint venture with Warner Bros. Lusomundo also has long-term film distribution accords for Portugal with UIP and Buena Vista Intl.

The partnership’s essential goal is a new and old economy supremacy not just in Portugal but throughout the Portuguese-speaking world. PT-MM has a cell-phone operation in Brazil named Telesp, and it recently acquired Brazilian Web portal Zip.Net. In addition, Lusomundo plans to build multiplexes in the Sao Paolo region.

“This strategic alliance allows us to cut back substantially the time to market in bringing our content online and benefit from substantial synergies,” said Silva.

“We are on track to meet our goal of creating a Portuguese-speaking champion committed to improving the online services available to our consumers,” PT-MM chairman and CEO Eduardo Martins said.

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