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Spanish conglom Prisa to float stock

Shares to start trading in June

MADRID — One day after Telefonica rolled off its buoyant stock to buy up Endemol, Spain’s other media giant, Prisa, has announced that it will float 25% of its shares, starting to trade in June.

Companies rolled into the initial public offering have total annual revenues of over $900 million.

An icon of the liberal establishment, Prisa owns Spain’s biggest selling daily newspaper, El Pais. But since 1990 it has plowed into broadcasting, launching the hugely successful analog pay TV service Canal Plus Spain in 1990 and satcaster CanalSatelite Digital in 1997. Both form part of film and TV conglom Sogecable, in which lead shareholders Prisa and giant French pay TV service Canal Plus each own 19%.

Prisa’s stock market bow looks like a move to generate new capital for all its interests, exploiting the fever in Spain and the rest of Europe for new-media assets.

While El Pais is the most influential and respected daily in Spain, its ratio of net profits (Pta 6.3 billion, or $36.8 million, in 1999) to revenues ($266.7 million) is relatively low, compared with those in Spain’s faster growing broadcasting sector.

Before the offer, Prisa will incorporate three companies that are fully owned subsids of Timon, a holding company majority owned by Prisa chairman Jesus de Polanco: publishing and educational group Santillana, printers Mateu Cromo and property business Mateu Inmobiliario.

Bulwarked by Santillana especially, Prisa will launch Internet service provider Prisa.com.

New capital will allow Prisa to increase its online initiatives and drive into Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, company sources said.

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