TVI takeover gets green light

 In Companies, Media, News

Portugal’s competition authority AdC, media regulator ERC and national communications authority Anacom have all approved a takeover bid for media group Media Capital by Pluris owned by Portuguese entrepreneur Mário Ferreira.

On December 29, the entrepreneur who already has a 30% stake in the media group which owns TV station TVI, notified the competition authorities and regulators that he, through his firm Pluris, was making a Mandatory Pubic Acquisition Offer on the other 70% and the authorities after being advised to do so by the securities market regulator CMVM. The three other regulators have now given the green light.
“The Administrative Board of the Competition Authority has decided not to oppose the operation” by Pluris for Media Capital. It is a decision which is also supported by the ERC and Anacom,”
reads a statement. The statement, which also includes the decisions from ERC and Anacom, is particularly important within the context of a conflict between Mário Ferreira and a competing media company in Portugal, Cofina, owned by Altri CEO Paulo Fernandes, who had stated that he had not given up his interest in Media Capital and also has a PAO on Media Capital, the registration of which is waiting for the value of each Media Capital share of TVI to be set by an independent auditor.
Giving his first reaction to the AdC decision, Mário Ferreira said, “Pluris is very satisfied with the thoroughness of the analysis carried out by the three regulators and for the balance and fairness shown by them.
The Media Capital shareholder emphasised “frank and open relationships with the regulators were essential for shareholder stability and for the development of a pluralist project which is independent of the communication bodies at Media Capital.”
The ERC, which has right of veto, informed the Competition Authority that it did not see risks that the operation would undermine values such as pluralism, editorial independence and diversity of opinion at Media Capital.”
The fact that ERC does not oppose the PAO is also relevant because at the same time there is a case going through the media and press regulator regarding Mário Ferreira’s operation which would rubber stamp the purchase of the 30% that he currently holds and which awaits a final decision which has yet to be known.
Pluris, owned by Mário Ferreira and already a majority shareholder in Media Capital, had procured legal expert advice which concluded that an infraction case initiated by the ERC could not affect the purchase of a 30% stake in Media Capital by the Spanish company Vertix.
At issue was an administrative proceeding initiated by the ERC in October 2020 against the sale of 30,22% of the share capital of Media Capital that Vertix (Prisa) held in the said Media Capital to Pluris, believing that there were “strong indications” of an unauthorised change in control regarding those radio and television station(s) operating under license from the media group, which could have culminated in the deal between Vertix and Pluris declared null and void, rendering it “legally ineffective”.
The Pluris group operates in the travel and tourism, hotels and insurance sectors in addition to having a minority share in the online news source ECO.
Media Capital is the owner of TVI, Plural and Radio Comercial with these markets taken into consideration in the analysis by the competition authority and the other sector regulators ERC and Anacom. Pluris had bought 30% of Media Capital from Vertix last year which led to the Stock Market and Securities Market Commission CMVM to force Mário Ferreira to launch the takeover bid on the remaining 70% of Media Capital.