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Spain Gives Vivendi Approval to Raise Stake in Media Group Prisa

MADRID, May 5 (Reuters) - Spanish media company Prisa said on Friday its second-largest shareholder Vivendi, had obtained the Spanish government's go-ahead to raise its stake in the publisher of the El Pais newspaper.

The Spanish government has given authorisation for Vivendi to exchange the Prisa convertible bonds it acquired in February into equity, Prisa said in a statement.

Spain passed a law in 2020 requiring foreign companies to seek approval to buy significant stakes in Spanish listed companies.

Heavily-indebted Prisa had sold 130 million euros ($143 million) worth of convertible bonds in a move to reduce its debt.

Prisa said if Vivendi were the only bondholder to convert its bonds into equity, its stake would rise to 15%.

If Vivendi and all other holders of the convertible bonds were to convert all their bonds, the French group would end up with about 10.9% in Prisa, up from its current 9.51%, based on Refinitiv data.

A Vivendi spokesperson declined to comment.

In late 2021, Vivendi filed a request to raise its stake in Prisa to up to 29.9% from the 9.94% it held at the time, as a part of plans to extend its reach in the Spanish-language markets in Europe, Latin America and the United States.

A few months later, Vivendi withdrew its request.

Vivendi had built its stake in Prisa by first acquiring a 7.89% stake from HSBC for 52 million euros ($57.25 million).

Prisa's largest single shareholder is activist fund Amber Capital, led by French investor Joseph Oughourlian, with a 29.57% stake, Refinitiv Eikon information shows.

($1 = 0.9083 euros)

Reporting by Matteo Allievi, editing by Inti Landauro

Source: Reuters

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