Slim bought a 3.2 percent holding in Prisa through his investment arm Inmobiliaria Carso SA, according to a regulatory filing today. Prisa jumped 12 percent to 84 euro cents at the close of trading in Madrid for its biggest jump in 17 months, valuing the company at 752 million euros ($1 billion).
The Prisa stake expands the media investments of Slim, who has said he bought about 8.1 percent of New York Times Co.’s Class A stock because of the promise of the publisher’s brand name as the newspaper business transforms beyond print to the Web. Prisa, which is seeking to reorganize 3 billion euros of debt, publishes El Pais, Spain’s best-selling newspaper.
“This is very positive news for Prisa as Slim is an investor with very good reputation,” said Ivan San Felix, an analyst at Renta 4 SA in Madrid. “The amount of the deal is almost nothing for Slim, so it’s possible that he invests more.”
Prisa, based in Madrid, also controls Santillana, the publishing unit that operates in 22 countries worldwide. It has a 17 percent holding in Mediaset Espana Comunicacion SA, owner of Spain’s biggest commercial television station. The shares jumped 3.9 percent to 4.18 euros.
Second Spanish Stake
“Like the New York Times, this is a financial investment that we think is a great opportunity,” Arturo Elias, a spokesman for Slim, said by phone. “Right now the conditions in Spain are favorable to enter into a company like Prisa.”
Slim doesn’t seek to control Prisa, which has a good management team, Elias said. The billionaire began accumulating the shares in “recent days,” he said.
The investment is the second stake Slim has disclosed this year in a Spanish company. His investment funds hold 0.2 percent of Barcelona-based CaixaBank.
Spain’s media companies are struggling to halt a slide in earnings as advertising revenue slumps with the country mired in its worst economic crisis in decades. Finance Minister Elena Salgado said yesterday the economy will grow about 0.8 percent this year, less than the government’s target.
Prisa’s nine-month pro-forma net income slid 80 percent to 17.9 million euros. Last month, it presented banks with a debt restructuring proposal aimed at extending maturities on syndicated and bridge loans.
Slim’s America Movil SAB, the largest wireless carrier in the Americas, has been pushing into media to provide video programming to Internet customers. America Movil agreed last month to acquire DLA Inc., which supplies Hollywood movies for the on-demand services of cable-TV networks throughout Latin America.
Slim, 71, was named the world’s richest person for the second year in a row in March by Forbes magazine. America Movil represents about two-thirds of his $64 billion in publicly disclosed holdings, according to Bloomberg data. He also controls mining, retail, construction and banking companies in Mexico.