By Emily Williams
The PRISA Group, owner of Spain’s third largest publishing group Santillana, has been struggling with debt problems since the financial crisis took hold a year ago and on Monday agreed to sell a 25% stake in Santillana to pay off part of its burden. The agreement values Santillana at $1.45 billion, with DLJ South American Partners, a private equity group controlled by Credit Suisse, agreeing to pay $362 million in exchange for control of 25% of the publisher. According to the Wall Street Journal, the agreement calls for a settlement to be reached to manage Santillana. The sale will make but a small dent in PRISA’s overall 5 billion euro load, and with Santillana the star economic performer among holdings that include leading newspaper El País (who covers the deal here) and cable broadcaster Digital+ the deal is seen as evidence of just how dire is the economic bind in which PRISA finds itself.
Incidentally, El Pais also had a good article over the weekend on the Google situation. It indicates that CEDRO, the Spanish Center for Reprographic Rights, has suspended the deal it had struck with Google. The center has 17,000 members, made up of publishers and authors, and 80% of them had signed on to an agreement to work with Google on digitizing their books, but everything is now suspended until Judge Chin makes a ruling here in the US. The article refers to the “three poles” of the agreement as being New York-Paris-Segovia.
Finally, for those keeping track, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol has topped 1.9 million copies in total English language sales, excluding Canada, according to The Bookseller. “The US hardback sales of The Lost Symbol have totaled 1.2m copies in the first week. Australian sales exceeded 127,000, while in New Zealand they hit almost 20,000. South Africa saw more than 8,500 copies go through the tills,” says the magazine, whose figures are derived from Nielsen BookScan.