Antena 3 de Televisión has signed a merger agreement with la Sexta, its smallest rival in the Spanish free-to-air broadcasting market. The deal is valued at €269m.
Under the agreement, signed on 14 December, Antena 3 will acquire all of the assets and liabilities of la Sexta. Once the merger is completed, la Sexta's shareholders will own seven per cent of Antena 3's share capital, and could receive an additional seven per cent stake subject to certain commercial targets over the next five years.
La Sexta's shareholders are currently GAMP Audiovisual, Grupo Televisa and Gala Desarolles as well as Imagina, which is due to replace Televisa as a shareholder in la Sexta. Separately, Mexico's Televisa exchanged its 40.8 per cent equity interest in la Sexta for a 14.5 per cent interest in Imagina. Antena 3 TV's largest shareholders are Planeta de Agostini and RTL Group.
Both agreements are subject to approval by the Spanish government and competition authorities.
Merger talks were reported to have broken down last year, but the deterioration in the Spanish advertising market (which fell 14 per cent in Q2) appears to have been the main factor in bringing negotations to a conclusion. Antena 3 said the merger would enable the group, which will consist of seven free-to-air channels and the pay TV Gol TV network under lease) to optimise its share of the TV advertising market and, assuming the merger is completed around mid-2012, will deliver cost savings of €60-80m a year from 2013.