The merger of Antena 3 and smaller rival La Sexta, announced Wednesday, will not lessen the new entity’s appetite for product, Antena 3 CEO Silvio Gonzalez told analysts Thursday.
However, the deal creates a commercial TV duopoly in Spain — Mediaset Espana and Antena 3-La Sexta — with the muscle to push down content prices.
“Antena 3 now owns seven TV channels. Its negotiating power is huge,” said one analyst.
However, Gonzalez isn’t planning cuts in program costs. “That would be committing suicide,” he said, adding that Antena 3 “will exploit better the costs we have.”
One example: Gonzalez suggested La Sexta’s Warner Bros. library content, such as “The Walking Dead,” could now feed Antena 3’s male-targeting Nitro and youth-skewed Neox.
Antena 3 will “fortify” La Sexta 3, its foreign fiction channel, which accesses a Warner Bros. output deal and movie packages from Disney, MGM, Fox and Paramount.
Rebooted late 2010, Sexta 3’s first-year 1.3% market share is “very successful,” Gonzalez insisted.
But Antena 3 will not renew Sexta’s Liga Saturday primetime soccer match rights, which lapse in June, unless the €60 million to €70 million ($78 million to $91 million) pricetag drops substantially.
Unveiling merger details, Gonzalez said Antena 3 will pay $348 million for all Sexta shares. Price includes up to $158 million of Sexta debt with $285 million in tax discounts sweetening the deal.
Post-merger, DeAPlaneta will own 41.7% of the entity, RTL 19.2% and Imagina, including Televisa, 13%.
Antena 3-La Sexta has 25% audience share and 42% ad market share, just below Mediaset Espana.