Spain's Grupo PRISA Buys Stake in V-me

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Grupo PRISA, the world's largest Spanish-language media company, has agreed to acquire a 12% stake on V-me Media, Inc. the New York-based company that owns Spanish-language network V-me, the companies confirmed.

The deal, whose financials were not disclosed, will have PRISA make a "significant" investment in cash and programming as a first step toward eventually controlling V-me.

The network launched in 2007 and quickly became the third-largest Spanish-language network in national household distribution.

Thalia Eebee on V-me

PRISA's investment will result in additional board seats, eventually representing majority control.

New York-based financial advisory and investment banking firm Violy and Company acted as advisors to PRISA, identifying the strategic opportunity as well as assisting in the execution of the transaction, in which PRISA will acquire 12% of V-me Media, Inc., increasing to a majority position in the next 12 months.

In a statement, Juan Luis Cebrián, CEO of PRISA, said: "This investment represents an aggressive U.S. step forward in PRISA's consumer-centric global strategy of delivering relevant content through multiplatform distribution to the entire Portuguese and Spanish speaking world."

PRISA, which among other properties owns Spain's prestigious daily El País, is said to reach more than 50 million users through its global brands. V-me will become its first and largest incursion in the world of Spanish-language television in the U.S.

"PRISA is a perfect partner for V-me," said Carmen M. DiRienzo, president and CEO of V-me, in a statement. "PRISA's world-class content and production resources combined with V-me's creative development and distribution present powerful opportunities to develop new programs and channels for domestic and international markets, and to expand and develop brands across PRISA's radio, publishing and broadcast assets."

V-me's original shareholders -- Syncom Venture Partners; The Baeza Group, led by V-me's founding chairman Mario L. Baeza; and Educational Broadcasting Corporation, a company of WNET.org, the PBS-affiliated public media provider in New York City -- will continue to be represented on the board of V-me Media.

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