tonight on teletext here it says that a formal announcement will be given in the next few days, the spanish minister for broadcasting says it will be a catastrophy for digital broadcasting, but as its a buisiness decision !!!!! (its ok) thats spain !!
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 10-May-02 AT 11:23 AM (GMT)]Sorry Rolf your link does not work even after tweaking
I found this yesterday but the wife was hogging the PC
Jesús de Polanco, president of Sogecable, owner of Canal Satélite and pay-TV terrestrial service Canal+, and his counterpart César Alierta, of Telefónica, Via Digital's main shareholder through its media subsidiary, Admira, signed an agreement on May, 8 to merge both digital companies in an attempt to stem their huge operating losses.
To implement the merger operation, Sogecable, controlled by Spanish media group Prisa and Vivendi Universal, will increase its share capital to allow Telefónica and other minority partners in Via Digital to take up to 23 per cent stakes. Telefónica, Vivendi, and Prisa will hold equal stakes, and the latter two will effectively control the new company under the terms of the agreement, whilst Telefónica will name the new president of the company, and Prisa and Vivendi, the CEO.
The merged satellite platform will be a relative pay-TV giant, with more than 2.8 million subscribers - composed of 1,230,038 Canal Satélite subscribers, 787,242 Canal+ subscribers and 806,000 from Via Digital as of December 2001 - and a total turnover of €1,3 billion.
Sogecable will acquire Telefónica's 40 per cent stake in Audiovisual Sport, the company that exploits football pay-TV rights in Spain, thereby acquiring overall control through a total of 80 per cent stakes in the company. The remaining 20 per cent will be retained by regional operator TV3.
Jesús de Polanco, who has built up a Spanish pay-TV empire with more than 2 million subscribers between Canal Satelite and Canal+ over the last decade, is emerging as the main beneficiary of the agreement with control over the management of the new company, its contents, and the football rights. Meanwhile, Telefónica president Alierta has managed to get rid of a very heavy financial burden for the telco, with the loss-making Via Digital scoring losses of €334.3 million in 2001 in comparison to 2001 Canal Satelite losses of €26.1 million. Alierta had given instructions to sell the company or seek a digital merger with its rival to stem its losses.
Both Sogecable and Telefónica showed initial interests in rescuing Quiero, and the DTT firm's sale was regarded as being the key to open the door to a far-reaching re-organisation of the Spain's digital market. But, in the end, Quiero's collapse has opened Sogecable and Telefónica's eyes to the fact that in such a small country like Spain, with 11.7 million TV households and a potential pay-TV market of 5 to 6 million homes, there is no market big enough for two different satellite platforms, and Quiero's collapse, formally announced on April 25, accelerated the process.
In their five years of operations, both parties entered into negotiations on several occasions over a possible merger, but political interference - with the Government publicly backing Via Digital against its rival Canal Satelite Digital - impeded an agreement. This time, however, it seems that the Government has given its blessing to the digital merger.
Nevertheless, the operation has yet to be approved by the Spanish Competition watchdog, dependent on the Finance Ministry, and the European authorities, who are known to take a dim view of such mergers. There are also aspects of the merger still to be resolved: for example, will distribution be via Hispasat, which currently distributes Via Digital, or Astra, which carries Canal Satelite Digital? Also, will Canal Satélite's MediaHighway technology and Simulcrypt, or Via Digital's Open TV and Multicrypt be used in the decoders?
Spain has moved with the international tide of digital fusion that so far has taken place in Italy, Poland, Norway and even the US. Who will be the next on the list?