Telefónica crowned king of Spanish pay-TV as Canal+ deal sealed
Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 08 May 2014
Prisa TV has accepted the €725-million offer for Canal+ from Telefónica which will now control 78% of Spain's largest pay-TV platform and become, thanks in part to its own platform Movistar TV, the most powerful player in the market.

Prisa confirmed the move through a public communication via the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV). According to the release, Canal+'s former owner will have now a 30-day period to negotiate all aspects of the operation.

Telefónica already owns 22% of Canal+, to which it will now add Prisa's 56%. The rest of the company is owned by Italy's Mediaset.

In a year in which Telefónica announced it will focus on pay-TV, the strategy of César Alierta's company seems clear: expansion. Movistar TV has been developing since the beginning of 2014, with the purchase of new broadcasting rights for sport - Formula One and MotoGP - increasing its offer and improving its TV everywhere platform.

It will now inherit Canal+'s over 1.6 million customers, although Telefónica recognises that the market and competition authorities will have the last word.

Orange has shown concern about the move. According to Julio Gómez, regulation's director at Orange Spain, speaking to Europa Press, Telefónica will now control 80% of the county's pay-TV market. For the telco, particularly worrying is the concentration of premium broadcasting rights, which could seriously damaged market competition.

The move is seen from a different point of view at Prisa. What was once the largest media group in Spain has been struggling under a huge debt in recent years and has been trying to off-load its TV business. In 2010, the company sold the free-to-air Cuatro to Mediaset and since January it has sold over €15 million in Mediaset stock. Now, after long negotiations and several rumours, Canal+ has left the house and Prisa can breathe a sigh of relief.