Mediapro revenues approach €2bn as it steps up foreign activity
By Simon Ward
Mediapro, the Spanish sports rights and production company, has today announced a 20-per-cent increase in revenues for 2018, and is targeting further growth on the back of significant foreign rights acquisitions, expansion in overseas markets and investment from new majority owner Orient Hontai Capital, the Chinese private equity firm.
The Barcelona-based operation, which is best known for its activity in European soccer, generated turnover of €1.967 billion ($2.218 billion) last year, up from €1.649 billion in 2017.
The Spanish market, including LaLiga soccer business, accounted for 21 per cent of revenues in 2018.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation amounted to €222 million, compared with €190 million in 2017.
This figure does not include extraordinary expenses related to the sale of a 53.5-per-cent stake in Mediapro’s parent company Imagina to Orient Hontai, in a deal worth €1 billion, which closed in June of last year.
Group investments across the year came to €69 million. However, net debt soared to €442 million, reflecting the outlay in launching new operations around the world.
Mediapro now employs 6,695 staff worldwide (4,765 in Spain), having created 1,080 additional jobs (701 in Spain) in the past year.
Mediapro has new business in France having acquired extensive media rights to the country’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 soccer leagues for 2020-21 to 2023-24 for a new pay-TV offering it is planning to launch, and in Canada where it is this month rolling out OneSoccer, a 24/7 live and on-demand streaming channel featuring live matches from the new Canadian Premier League.
Mediapro has also acquired exclusive rights in Spain to the 2022 Fifa World Cup, to be hosted by Qatar, and retained international rights to LaLiga in a five-year $4.5-billion, deal running to the end of the 2023-24 season.
In addition the company has kept hold of limited domestic rights to the Spanish league, albeit Telefónica, the country’s telecoms giant, has claimed the lion’s share of the live packages, from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
On the production side, Mediapro will be serving as the host broadcaster of the Pan American and Parapan American Games in Lima this year, and has been appointed by Conmebol to create a hub to manage the integration, production and distribution of the international TV broadcast of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana club competitions from 2019 to 2022.
Looking ahead, the company said: "2019 Group objectives include continued organic and inorganic growth of all its divisions, the expansion of activities in Latin America, consolidation of its presence in Asia, strategic development of its digital area and bolstering content creation worldwide through THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO, development of the domestic rights to the French league and breaking ground on its production activities in Canada. In 2019 the Group is also celebrating its 25th anniversary with a host of celebratory activities planned."
Following the Orient Hontai deal, advertising giant WPP retains a 22.5-per-cent shareholding in Mediapro, while group founder Tatxo Benet and Jaume Roures have kept 12 per cent each.