laSexta merges with Antena 3 - at last

Finally the agreement has been made: Mediapro's Spanish subsidiary laSexta will merge with Grupo Planeta's Antena 3 TV.

The first move between the two companies was taken two years ago and the merger will happen in two phases. Just less than 10% of equity will be transferred immediately to laSexta on signing the deal whilst the rest will be delivered once a series of business goals have been achieved.

In exchange for integrating with Antena 3, laSexta's managers have guaranteed to maintain the editorial independence of the channel and, therefore, its programming control.

José Manuel Lara, Grupo Planeta's president did not want this point to be included at the beginning but in the end he has realised it is more profitable to maintain the channel's independence. This is what happened in the case of Cuatro regarding its inclusion within Mediaset Spain.

"The idea is that the viewers don notice a merger has happened," Lara declared in relation to this.

As for the management of the merged group the idea is that the president will be José Manuel Lara, while Silvio González acts as the company's CEO. There will be at least two VPs, one being Mauricio Carlotti and the other for a laSexta's executive. This sharing will mean the Antena 3's top management will be kept as so far.

laSexta is controlled by GAMP (owned by Imagina) which owns 51.6% of the capital while Televisa has 40.5% and the risk capital fund Gala Capital has another 7.82%. Antena 3 is controlled by editorial company Grupo Planeta owning 44.58%, while UFA Film (the former RTL Group) owns another 20.49%; the 30% is in the Stock Exchange and the rest is self-capital.