Vocento takes control of Spanish producer

TV group nabs share in entertainment shingle

MADRID — Spanish TV and publishing group Vocento has taken a 70% stake in Europroducciones, the country’s leading light entertainment and telenovela production company, as industry concentration continues.

Vocento, which already held 30%, bought a further 30% shareholding from Televisa, marking the Mexican TV giant’s exit from Spanish assets, save for a small stake in pay TV operator Sogecable. Vocento also bought 5% each from Europroducciones’ founders Arturo Vega and Francesco Boserman, leaving both with a 15% interest in the company.

The share purchase gives Vocento stakes in three of Spain’s largest TV production companies. It already holds 30% in film-TV production house BocaBoca Producciones and 25% in Spain’s biggest primetime series producer, the Arbol Group.

It may not be Vocento’s last acquisition. Owner of Spanish daily newspaper ABC, Vocento posted a E183.6 million ($221.2 million) net profit in 2003, largely from selling a 12% stake in Telecinco for a profits of $169 million. It still retains 13% of Telecinco.

Europroducciones produces Spain’s top-rating morning magazine, “Day to Day.” Its latest telenovela, “Luna negra,” performed strongly on pubcaster RTVE, bowing out with a last day 30% share and 3.3 million viewers.

Faced with a maturing TV market in Spain, Europroducciones is expanding abroad. With offices in Italy and Portugal, it aims to initiate TV production for the U.S. Hispanic market, Poland and Greece before year’s end. As a calling card for the U.S. market, Europroducciones has produced a pilot of reconciliation reality show “Hay una carta para ti” (There’s a Letter for You).

“Currently, 30% of our revenues come from abroad. Our idea is to raise that to 50% in the next two to three years,” Europroducciones prexy Vega said.