Telefonica is prepared to sell a 50 percent stake in Digital+ to Al Jazeera to ease regulatory concerns about its proposed takeover of the Spanish pay-TV platform, reports website El Confidencial. In May Telefonica announced that it had agreed to purchase the 56 percent stake in Digital+ owned by Prisa for EUR 750 million before subsequently agreeing to acquire Mediasetís 22 percent stake in Digital+ for an initial EUR 295 million. However, Spainís communications regulator CNMC has yet to approve the deal and recent reports have suggested that the regulator 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 percent of Spainís pay-TV market.

Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera is said to be particularly interested in the rights to live Spanish football games owned by Digital+, including the highly lucrative Barcelona-Real Madrid Ďclassicí. In February Telefonica signed a one-season rights deal with Barcelona for 2015-16 and the company recently announced that it was looking to double Movistar TV subscribers to 4 million this year.

Al Jazeera is owned by the Qatar government, which also has a EUR 30 million a year shirt sponsorship deal with Barcelona through the Qatar Foundation.