Spanish multimedia conglomerate Prisa Group is acquiring Santillana de Ediciones, one of the Spanish-speaking world's largest publishing houses, for an undisclosed amount. The move is seen as an effort by Prisa to add muscle to its planned 25% stock flotation in June.
The Prisa announcement coincided with media rival Telefonica's much-discussed buy-out of Dutch production house Endemol Entertainment.
Santillana will add massive content to Prisa's already hefty portfolio, which encompasses among other interests audiovisual group Sogecable, national newspapers El Pais and Cinco Dias, CNN+, Cadena SER radio and the Crisol book chain. Sogecable houses cinema and television holdings such as Canal Plus Spain, Canal Satelite Digital, Sogepaq, Sogetel and Warner Sogefilms.
Earlier this month, Prisa launched an internet service dubbed inicia.com, marking the first in a line of broadband link-ups anticipated among Prisa's multiple business activities. The fusion of Prisa's and Santillana's web interests is set to be renamed Prisa.com.
The Santillana move forms part of Prisa's plans to step up its international expansion, especially into Spanish-speaking markets. But Prisa - which reported net profits for 1999 of $91.9m (pts14,241m), a 73% rise over the previous year - faces stiff competition from multimedia rival Telefonica, which has emerged as an aggressive international force with a string of multi-billion dollar Latin American and now European acquisitions.
Both Prisa and Telefonica audiovisual subsidiary Telefonica Media plan to float shares on the Spanish stock exchange in June. By that time, Spain's "New Market" index listing for high-growth and possible high-risk companies should be in place.