Prisa Chairman to Step Down After Amber Blocks Monzon Pick

  • Publisher to start formal process to hire Cebrian replacement
  • Prisa to proceed with capital increase plans to cut debt

Juan Luis Cebrian

Photographer: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Promotora de Informaciones SA Chairman Juan Luis Cebrian plans to step down early next year after the legendary editor failed to turn around the beleaguered media company and appease investors including hedge fund Amber Capital, according to people familiar with the matter.

Prisa, as the publisher of El Pais newspaper is known, said late Friday in a filing that Cebrian asked a board committee to activate its succession plan. The dismissal of the current chairman will take place as soon as the company has completed its capital increase and debt restructuring, Prisa said.

A proposal to appoint former Indra Sistemas SA Chairman Javier Monzon as Cebrian’s successor has been blocked by some board members and investors including Amber, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Representatives for Prisa and Amber declined to comment.

Prisa also announced it’s continuing with its planned capital increase of 450 million euros to 500 million euros, which the company had announced earlier this week. Prisa is working with Banco Santander SA on the potential increase to bolster its balance sheet after talks to sell an educational book publishing unit stalled on price, people familiar with the matter have said. The company’s investors had been conditioning support for a capital increase on the removal of Cebrian, the people said.

Amber, Prisa’s largest owner with a stake of about 19 percent, has been pushing for a capital increase for months. The people familiar with the matter said some other shareholders are opposed, including Grupo Herradura Occidente SA, which holds an 8.9 percent stake.

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