Vivendi asked Spanish government authorisation to up stake in Prisa

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks past El Pais newspaper building amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) -French media group Vivendi has asked the Spanish government the authorisation to buy up to 29.9% in media company Prisa, the Spanish company said on Monday in a filing with the stock market regulator.

The French media group had already snapped up a 9.94% stake in the beleaguered publisher of influential El Pais newspaper in January.

Vivendi had said back then the move was part of the group’s strategy “to become a global leader in content, media and communications” and that it sought to extend its reach in the Spanish-language markets in Europe, Latin America and the United States.

Vivendi built its stake in Prisa by first acquiring a 7.89% stake from HSBC for 52 million euros ($60.52 million).

The Spanish government last year passed a law submitting foreign firms intending to buy significant stakes in Spanish listed companies to an authorisation.

The main shareholder in Prisa is activist fund Amber Capital, led by French investor Joseph Oughourlian, with a 29.84% stake, according to Refinitiv.

Prisa’s market value was around 396 million euros on Monday.

($1 = 0.8593 euros)

Reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Andrei Khalip