Telefonica Is Said to Weigh Prisa Stake Cut as HSBC Sells

(Bloomberg) -- Telecom carrier Telefonica SA is considering lowering its stake in Promotora de Informaciones SA as part of the Spanish publisher’s planned capital increase, according to people familiar with the matter.

Telefonica would reduce its 13 percent holding in Prisa by selling subscription rights, according to two of the people, who asked not to be identified as the considerations are private. Telefonica would seek to lower its stake to less than 10 percent, one person said.

Prisa, the owner of Spain’s leading newspaper El Pais, is raising 563 million euros ($699 million) through a share sale after reaching an agreement with creditors to restructure its debt. The rights Telefonica holds allow it to subscribe to the planned capital increase.

HSBC Holdings Plc, another top Prisa shareholder, on Monday sold rights equivalent to 4.5 percent of the new issued capital, profiting from an 80 percent surge since they started trading Jan. 29. HSBC sold the rights at 3 euros apiece. The rights closed at 2.52 euros Monday.

Prisa’s top holder, Amber Capital UK LLP, went on a buying spree last week, snapping up 5.24 million rights, which means the fund’s stake in Prisa will rise to about 24 percent after the capital offering, from 18 percent.

Telefonica acquired its stake in Prisa when Cesar Alierta was chairman of the phone company. Current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, who took over in 2016, has said repeatedly the investment will only be held to offer stability to Prisa.

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