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Portugal Telecom may buy stake in Prisa unit

Portugal Telecom said it was in talks with Spanish media group Prisa over potential acquisition of a stake in Portuguese Media Capital, owner of television channel TVI.

Portugal Telecom (PT) said in a statement no agreement had been reached. TVI is Portugal's most-watched channel.

The statement was issued in response to media reports in Portugal saying PT was in the advanced stages of negotiations to acquire a 30% stake in Media Capital.

Diario Economico business newspaper said such a deal would be worth around €150 million ($207.9 million) and may include an option for PT to buy out the remaining stake from Prisa, which holds over 94% of Media Capital, in the future.

It said PT had rushed to arrange the deal to pre-empt a similar step by its Spanish rival Telefonica, which, according to the paper, was also interested. PT did not provide any details on how big a stake it was in talks to buy or for how much.

“In the course of such contacts (with Prisa), several investment scenarios have been analyzed, including a potential acquisition of a stake in Media Capital's share capital and different forms of relationship between this company and Portugal Telecom,” PT said in a statement.

The country's leading telecommunications company said it was committed to its television and audiovisual content strategy, and underscored the relevance of its marketing budget in Portugal.

“As a result, Portugal Telecom should not ignore any eventual investment opportunities that may be presented to it and which may be consistent with its business strategy,” it said.

In Spain, shares in debt-burdened Prisa, which owns El Pais newspaper, jumped 9.2% to €3.97 in early trade before retreating slightly to €3.92.

PT stocks, which hit eight-month highs on Tuesday, fell 1.1% to €6.6, while the broader market in Lisbon was flat. Media Capital stock was untraded. (Reuters)