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Update Digital+'s sale speeds up - 15-September-2008, 11:10

Digital+'s sale speeds up

The sale of Spanish digital-satellite platform Digital+ is likely to speed up this month. The operator's owner, media group Prisa, has hired financial group HSBC to accelerate the sale.

Prisa wants 3.5 billion for the platform in order to cut down its 5 billion debt pile. HSBC has already contacted half a dozen candidates to whom it has sent information on the sale.

Those groups interested in the operator will be able to send their offers from today, September 15. Prisa hopes to have a short list in a weeks time for the final offers, which will arrive at the beginning of next month. Then the company will give the final candidate detailed information on the group through a due diligence process with the goal of closing an agreement in October.

Nevertheless, Prisa reminds the decision over selling Digital+ is still to be confirmed. Among those media groups contacted by HSBC and Prisa are News Corp., Vivendi, Mediaset, Telefnica, Telmex, France Tlcom and Ono.

But the downturn in the audiovisual business and the financial crisis will likely reduce the 3.5 billion Prisa is aspiring to get for the platform.

Another valuation of the operator is the one made by bank USB which values Digital+ at 2.7 billion and at the same time is raising the possibility of more divestments from among Prisas other assets as Prisa is likely to find it difficult to get 3.5 billion for the business.

Among the divestments Prisa could make could be selling stakes in its radio business and/or in its editorial business Santillana.
   
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