Spanish Billionaire Abello Said to Eye Sale of Imagina Stake

  • Media rights group Imagina may be valued at 2 billion euros
  • Investor working with Citigroup and Lazard on sale process

Juan Abello.

Photographer: Europa Press via Getty Images

Private equity firm Torreal SA is considering a sale of its stake in Imagina Media Audiovisual SL that could value the Spanish audiovisual firm at as much as 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

Torreal is working with Citigroup Inc. and Lazard Ltd. to find buyers, said the people who asked not to be named as the deliberations are private. The process, which is still at an early stage, may attract private equity firms and bidders in the industry, they said. Torreal, led by Spanish billionaire Juan Abello, owns a 23 percent stake in the company, according to its website.

Representatives for Barcelona-based Imagina, Torreal, Citigroup and Lazard declined to comment.

Imagina sells the international rights to the Spanish Football League and owns local rights to Formula One championship races and the European Champions League. The company also provides production, post-production and audiovisual engineering, sets up and runs TV channels and offers marketing and consulting services, according to its website.

Liberty Media Corp. agreed to buy the company that controls Formula One earlier this month with an eye to reviving interest in the auto racing circuit. Even as TV rights fees have grown, the sport’s global audience is falling and sponsorship revenue has stagnated. Liberty Media said it plans to focus on Formula One’s underdeveloped digital operations and adding new races and promotional activity.

Imagina’s owners also include management and advertising giant WPP Plc.

— With assistance by Jonathan Browning

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