Vivendi, the French telecommunications and entertainment giant, joins Grupo Prisa with the purchase of 5% of the capital stock that HSBC bank has put up for sale. Relations between the French conglomerate and Amber Capital, the main shareholder of the company that owns media such as El País or Cadena Ser, are excellent. In fact, both companies closed an alliance last August to gain more weight on the board of directors of the French media company Lagardère, where they account for 43% of the shareholding.
Amber and Telefónica overthrow Javier Monzón as president of Prisa
With the entry of Vivendi into Prisa, the current president of the company and owner of Amber, Joseph Oughourlian, ensures greater control of the shareholders in his fight with the president of Santander, Ana Botín, for control of the media company of communication. This war had its climax last December 2020 with the defenestration of Javier Monzón, then president of the company and strong man of Booty in Haste.
At that meeting, HSBC bank, which was one of the main shareholders of the media group with 9.068% of the shares, showed that the Spanish media group was not among its main objectives by choosing not to appear, which allowed Oughourlian with The support of Telefónica had the majority of the shareholders that allowed to give the coup de grace to Monzón.
HSBC entered the capital of Prisa through an operation to exchange debt for part of the shareholders. Once the Spanish media company has started a divestment process with the sale of Santillana Spain and media in Latin America which have allowed it to reduce its debt, the British bank has been left with a free hand to abandon this company.
With this operation, Vivendi tries to consolidate its position in the Spanish content market. Sources familiar with the operation point out that the French company will help consolidate Telefónica’s position in the Spanish media company through the development of audiovisual content. “It is the reasonable industrial partner that Telefónica needed in Prisa,” they argue.
Last December, Vivendi announced the sale of another 10% of the capital it owns in its Universal Music Group music label to the Chinese technology company Tencent for 3 billion euros. With this sale, the French company pointed out that it would use the money to reduce financial debt and finance acquisitions of other companies.
The French conglomerate has 44,000 employees worldwide in companies such as Universal Music Group (Music), Canal + Group (television and cinema), Editis (publishing), Gameloft (video games) or Havas (advertising), among others, as well as having the 30% of the Italian television giant Mediaset and 23% of Telecom Italia. In 2019 it obtained revenues of 15,898 million euros and a profit of 1,741 million.