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Quiero left lacking $ by Planeta

Problems underscore tough pay TV environment in Spain

MADRID — Spanish digital terrestrial pay TV operator Quiero is facing a crisis after media group Planeta revealed that it will not take part in a 12 billion peseta ($63.2 million) capital increase.

Planeta’s share looks likely to drop from 15% to 10% as a consequence. Planeta prexy Jose Manuel Lara Bosch resigned as prexy of Quiero in April.

Cuts introduced by Spanish telco Auna, a 49% shareholder, have also sparked other Quiero exec exits, including head of content/buyer Gino Nattaliccio and deputy director general-No. 2 exec Lluis Oliva.

A joint venture of Telecom Italia, and Spanish electricity groups Endesa and Union Fenosa, Auna launched DTT feevee Quiero in May 2000.

Service shocked pay rivals Sogecable and Via Digital by attracting a healthy 200,000 subs by January. But unease among investors soon followed. Endesa now wants to refocus on its core electricity business.

Quiero’s problems underscore the tough pay TV environment in Spain, which hosts three major digital platforms plus nascent cable TV systems.

(Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report.)

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