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Prisa builds bridge loan extension

Media company nabs new deal with bank

MADRID  — Prisa, Spain’s biggest media company, announced Thursday it has gained a one-year extension on its 1.95 billion euros ($2.6 billion) bridging loan, which lapsed March 31.

The deal, agreed with London bank HSBC, Spanish banks La Caixa, Caja Madrid and Banesto and France’s BNP Paribas and Natixis, will allow Prisa to develop “a stable financial structure for mid- and long-term,” in line with its strategic plan, company said.

Prisa raised the loan last year to take full ownership of its TV division, Sogecable, which includes satcaster Digital Plus and broadcast network Cuatro.

The continuous rumors of an agreement on Prisa’s debt refinancing has upped the price of the company’s share since March. Stock rose a spectacular 206% from $1.26 in March 9 to $3.87 on Thursday.

Prisa’s share value has also been boosted by recent reports in the Spanish press about merger negotiations with controlling shareholders of newcomer channel, La Sexta, which includes giant sports rights broker Mediapro.

“The main wild card for the time being is the possibility of a merger between Cuatro and La Sexta, or an even wider arrangement involving the audiovisual assets of Prisa and Mediapro group,” said a Madrid-based analyst.