July 30, 2018 / 5:02 AM / 4 months ago

Spain's Prisa explores selling stake in Mexican radio stations -sources

MEXICO CITY, July 30 (Reuters) - Spanish media firm Prisa is considering selling its stake in Televisa Radio, a network of popular Mexican stations held in a joint venture with broadcaster Grupo Televisa, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Televisa, the world’s largest producer of Spanish-language TV content, said on its earnings call this month that it is seeking to sell its radio business as part of a larger effort to slim down the company and focus on its core strengths.

But some prospective buyers would like to have more control over the stations, which Prisa operates, one of the people said. The Madrid-based firm had not been looking to sell but may be willing to part with its stake for a good price, the person added.

It is difficult to determine the potential value of the unit because Televisa lumps its revenues into an “other businesses” category, including gaming and publishing.

A spokesman for Prisa declined to comment. A Televisa spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Prisa’s revenue from Mexican radio rose nearly 18 percent during the first half of 2018, according to company filings. Radio accounts for about 1 percent of Televisa’s consolidated revenues, according to research from brokerage firm GBM.

The potential sale of the radio stations is part of Televisa’s ongoing campaign to shed assets as it doubles down on content and distribution. The firm has struggled with declining advertising revenue as streaming services seize more viewers, mirroring global trends in broadcasting.

“It makes sense that they are focusing on the businesses that have a clearer path into the future for younger audiences,” said GBM analyst Carlos de Legarreta.

Televisa Radio spans 83 stations, including the popular W Radio network, according to the company’s 2017 annual report. Prisa bought half of the business from Televisa in the early 2000s.

The stations have attracted substantial interest, but antitrust issues could pose an obstacle for some potential buyers already in the market, one of the people with knowledge of the process said.

Televisa sold its stake in Spanish media group Imagina earlier this year and has also expressed a desire to unload its casino business.

Nevertheless, the sale of the stations would be a milestone for Televisa, which has been a player in the Mexican radio industry since the 1930s. ($1 = 18.6260 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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