Telefonica is reportedly in talks for Al Jazeera to take a significant stake in Canal Plus to ease regulatory concerns from the CNMC and give green light to Telefonicaís takeover of the Spanish pay-TV platform.
In May, Telefonica agreed to purchase the 56 per cent stake in Digital+ owned by Prisa for Ä750 million before subsequently agreeing to acquire Mediasetís 22 per cent stake in Digital+ for an initial Ä295 million.
But regulator CNMC has yet to approve the deal and recent reports have suggested that it is likely to impose strict conditions, such as the requirement to open up the content of Digital+ to rivals Vodafone-Ono and Orange. The European Commission has also expressed concerns that the proposed merger would give Telefonica control of 80 per cent of Spainís pay-TV market.
Qatarís Al Jazeera is said to be particularly interested in the rights to live Spanish football matches owned by Canal Plus. In February Telefonica signed a one-season rights deal with Barcelona for 2015-16 and the company recently announced that it is planning to double Movistar TV subscribers to 4 million this year.
Qatar has a Ä30 million a year shirt sponsorship deal with Barcelona through the Qatar Foundation.
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