‘Operation Hurry’: Moncloa closes support to cease Monzón and assault the control of ‘El País’ and Cadena Ser

Pedro Sánchez pressures the company’s large shareholders to vote against the renewal of the group’s executive president.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, during a television interview.

The political operation of Moncloa to take control of the group Rush it may begin to crystallize this Monday. The sources consulted by Invertia indicate that Amber Capital would be close to obtaining the necessary support to remove Javier Monzón from his position as non-executive president of the publisher of The country and Ser Chain. And in all this the Government of Pedro Sanchez is having a leading role.

As this newspaper already advanced, Monsoon his future as chief executive of the company is at stake this Monday, when the Prisa Shareholders’ Meeting vote for the continuity of the director. Amberthe main shareholder that owns 29.8% of the group, has been moving for weeks to get the necessary support to guarantee the departure of the non-executive president.

A movement in which in recent days the team of Pedro Sanchez, pressuring the company’s main shareholders to withdraw their support for Monzón. Behind it is a careful assault operation on the main publisher of Spain to recover its support at a critical moment for political life.

The Operation Rush has been preparing for months, but has accelerated after the definitive rupture of Monsoon with Moncloa after naming Xavier Moreno new director of The countryand dismiss Soledad Gallego Diazwhich had the full support of Pedro Sanchez and his chief of staff Ivan Round.

The first thing is to separate Monsoonbut the next thing will be a change of draft in the Board of directors to accommodate like-minded executives Moncloa. Even the replacement of the recently appointed director of The countrywho -if everything is fulfilled- would not get to sit in the armchair of the newspaper Rush.

Javier Monzón, non-executive president of Prisa.

Javier Monzón, non-executive president of Prisa.

Pedro Sánchez has succumbed to the temptation of all the Prime Ministers of wanting to have the largest number of media outlets at their service. During confinement he has noticed the advantages of having maximum media coverage and now he wants to go one step further trying to unify the support that comes from LaSexta and the Atresmedia group with those of the Prisa group, with The countryand the Cadena Ser as maximum exponents.

The idea of Sanchez it is to build a large media bloc against the critical press, to which Televisión Española would join when the sole administrator is replaced Rose Mary Matthewprobably before the end of this year.

In this way, Sanchez He has taken advantage of the fratricidal struggle in Prisa to put order and tilt the balance in his favor. Joseph Oughourlian, representative of Amber and confidant of Pedro Sánchez, has obtained the support of Moncloa, but in exchange for placing close to the PSOE on your advice.

The sources consulted by this newspaper indicate that Moncloa ask for at least two armchairs in the council: Jose Miguel Contreras -founder of laSexta-; Miguel Barroso -personal friend of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

These were founders and ideologues of the sixth and, to a great extent, responsible for the current line of the canal, which has become strong by criticizing the PP, Vox and Citizens. From his antenna, the motion of censure to Mariano Rajoy two years ago and the ground was paved for the elections won by Sanchez in 2019.

Appointment of Javier Moreno

But this would not be the only step to assault Rush. The change also involves having a new director in The country.Moncloa and Amber agree to place School Ignatius as director of the head in substitution of a Dark that -unintentionally- has been the germ so that Sánchez hastened the dismissal of Monzón.

Escolar was the director of the late Publicjournal assembled by James Rouresand now he has gained weight as the leader of eldiario.es, a newspaper strongly related to the left and with Can. With that, Moncloa would kill two birds with one stone: fidelity of the newspaper would be ensured and its government partners would be satisfied.

Similarly, a strong axis would be created between Contreras and School. The first is a shareholder of eldiario.es e infofree and shares with the director of the first bizarre theories promoted from podemite circles such as the relationship between 11-M 2003 and 8-M 2020. A series of joint reports in which they tried to demonstrate that the relationship between the marches of 8 -M and the spread of Covid were part of ‘conspiracy theories’.

Escolar has indicated to this newspaper that he has not been contacted or offered the address of The country and that -in any case- he would never accept the position. He attributes this information to the internal war in Prisa’s shareholders “of which I am completely oblivious”, he indicates.

For his part, José Miguel Contreras told this newspaper that “if they offered it to me (the position on the board) for the meeting that takes place this coming Monday, my answer would be overwhelmingly negative.”

The appointment of Xavier Moreno felt like a jug of cold water in Moncloa because he interpreted as a nod to the old guard of the PSOE and the Philippism. Javier Monzon cultivates a friendship of many years with Felipe González and has asked him for support to stay in Rush.

In fact, the landing of Slim in the capital of Prisa in October occurred thanks to the direct intervention of the former president to prop up the nucleus of Spanish companies that supports the former director of Indra in Prisa.

To avoid this influence Felipist, One of the first moves if Monzón is removed will be to “correct” the situation by putting a director of The country trustworthy Monzón tried to abort a first assault by Moncloa and Amber and appointed Moreno without prior consultation with the council, which ended up convincing Sánchez that the Operation Rush was to be executed.

Javier Monzón (non-executive chairman) and Manuel Mirat (chief executive officer) during a Prisa Shareholders' Meeting.

Javier Monzón (non-executive chairman) and Manuel Mirat (chief executive officer) during a Prisa Shareholders’ Meeting.

Monsoon Props

Will he have this support in the new onslaught of Amber? Moncloa he wants to ensure that this is the case and has spent days trying to convince the main shareholders of the group of the benefits of the change of business. Directly or indirectly, the Executive has tried to influence Santander, the Polancos, the Mexicans Carlos Fernández and Roberto Alcántara, Slim, Telefónica, Abdullah Al-Thani and HSBC.

A situation that is not easy, especially with Ibex companies. Santander and Telefonica They have been companies that have supported the Executive since the beginning of the pandemic. For the good of the economy, They have closed ranks with the financial management, although now they will have a difficult time attending this new call from Moncloa.

It does not seem easy for Santander to withdraw support for Monzón, whom it has appointed as its representative in the group, although in the case of Telefónica there are doubts. In fact, the telecommunications operator has the key to the final decision on the continuity of Monzón with its 9% of the capital.

The great asset of Monzón is Banco Santander and its president Ana Botín. The financial entity has only 4.8% of the shares, but with influence in about 18% of the capital. For their part, the children of Jesus of Polanco they have 7.6% through Rucandiumalthough they left their shares as collateral to Santander after they were financed in the last capital increase. Mexicans are in a similar situation. Carlos Fernandez with 4.03% and Robert Alcantara with 5.2% of the capital.

Another ally of Monzón would be Charles Slim which had 4.3% a few weeks ago through Carso. Slim is a close friend of Philip Gonzalez and share common interests in Spain and Latin America. His last move? Raise your participation in Haste to 5% to shield Monsoon. Between all these shareholders they touch 26% of the capital and all of them would be inclined to keep him in office.

Telefónica’s position

Against it has Amber Capital with 29.8% to which should be added the support of investment funds that have no weight on the Board of Directors but that add up to more than 6% of the capital. vanguard has 1.6%, Melqart Asset Management owns 3.6% and polygonal has 1%. Amber plus the funds add up to 37% of the capital.

But there is still to be counted those who have not spoken out and probably will not do so until the edge of the Shareholders Meeting. HSBC which has 9% of the capital and on other occasions has voted together with Amber Capital. The Qatari Abdullah Al-Thani who owns 5.1% and who is being courted by both sides; Y Telephone which has a 9% stake.

Unlike HSBC, Telefónica tends to be more in tune with the group’s core of Spanish companies, although Moncloa could change the final decision of your vote. The sources consulted indicate that the operator has not decided what it will vote for and its intentions will not be known until Monday when the vote is held at noon.