Analysis: Prisa confirms that V-Me Investment was an Asset Exchange

Spain’s media giant Prisa (Madrid stock Exchange: PRS), confirmed in documents provided to the Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission that  the purchase of 12% of U.S. Hispanic broadcast network V-Me was the result of an asset exchange for its interest in Bolivian newspaper group Inversiones Grupo Multimedia Comunicaciones.

Spain’s Prisa operating revenues in the United States and Latin America increased by 21% to $165 million in 2009, according to the information provided by the company to the CMNV, the Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission.

This positive development in the Latin American and U.S. business diminished the overall decline in Prisa’s profitability. In 2009 overall EBITDA declined by 34% to $845 million.

Both the Latin American and U.S. publishing and radio divisions of Prisa contributed to earnings growth of Prisa in the Americas. Text book Publisher Santillana saw revenues increase by more tan 20% in the Argentinean, Chilean and Venezuelan markets. Overall sales increased by 4.7% to $557 million in the Americas, while EBITDA increased by 16.4% to $139 million.

Regarding Prisa’s international radio operations, to which Grupo Latino de Radio (the new Union Radio and stakes in Mexican broadcaster Radiopolis belong to, revenues decreased by 2.5% to $125 million, while EBITDA increased by 54% increasing from $16 million to $26 million.

During 2009 Prisa closed several transactions in the U.S, including the sale of 25% of Santillana to DLJ South American Partners and the investment in together with Talos Partners to develop a retail advertising network in the U.S.

On a different note, Prisa recently confirmed local Spanish media reports that it is in talks to sell a stake to Liberty Acquisition Holdings Corp. (LIA)

In a Spanish regulatory filing, the media company, known as Prisa, said no agreement had been reached with Liberty, a U.S.-based special-purpose acquisition company. It didn't give any other details.

Prisa, is struggling under a nearly EUR5 billion debt load (it recently extended its maturity to 2013, said it was in talks with international investors to inject between EUR450 million and EUR600 million in the company.

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