LISBON — Portuguese aristocrat, businessman and race car driver Miguel Paes do Amaral has purchased a 10% stake in leading Portuguese media group, Media Capital.

He paid 35 million Euros ($48.2 million), buying the shareholding from Spain’s Prisa. He also has a 12-month option to acquire a further 19.7% for $96 million.

If he fails to exercise this option, Prisa will be able to redeem its 10% stake at the same price.

“This is a financial participation but not a strategic participation,” Paes do Amaral said.

Paes do Amaral founded MC in 1988 with Liberty Acquisition’s Nicolas Berggruen and sold it to Prisa in several steps over 2005-2007 at an 80% premium over the currently agreed share prices.

Since exiting MC, Paes do Amaral has built up Portugal’s largest book publishing group, Leya.

New York investment fund Liberty Acquisition injected $868 million into cash-strapped Prisa in November 2010 in return for Prisa’s commitment to shed 2,500 staff and divest multiple assets, including a 30% MC stake.

MC owns Portugal’s leading private broadcaster, TVI, which boasts a 39% primetime share, and exhibitor/distributor Castello Lopes.

This week, MC announced its 2010 results, which saw an 8% fall in operating income to $343 million and a 30% drop in net profits to

$17.5 million.