Antena 3 denies merger with laSexta

Spanish terrestrial network Antena 3 is not willing to merge with other broadcasters, said major shareholder Grupo Planeta's president, despite the Spanish government’s move to allow private TV channels to link-up. Speculations has been on the table that Mediapro's laSexta could merge with Sogecable's Cuatro or Grupo Planeta's Antena 3.

José Manuel Lara, Grupo Planeta's president, said: "There has not been any conversation with any TV group for a likely merger, buyout or adquisition so far." Lara said these were rumours led by internet talk.

At the same time he declared: "This is not a moment for mergers but to keep up and wait until the economic situation gets better." But he also conceded that later, possibly during this year, there will be mergers and the audiovisual market "will be put in order".

On his side laSexta's CEO, José Miguel Contreras, such as Rapid TV News published yesterday, said his channel was open to a merger with another TV channel. At the same time he declared laSexta has been having talks with all Spain's communication groups except for Vocento (one of Telecinco's shareholders) and that there could be a "wedding" before next year. Contreras also said those TV channels that make the first move will have "an extraordinary advantage" since in 2010 there will not be TV channels but multimedia platforms.