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Portugal postpones sale of public broadcaster

Friday - 1/25/2013, 6:08am  ET

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portugal's government is postponing its planned privatization of the public broadcaster after complaints from private channels that the advertising market isn't big enough for another competitor.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Miguel Relvas said late Thursday the planned sale of all or part of Radiotelevisao Portuguesa will take place at "a more suitable time" as Portugal endures what is forecast to be a third straight year of recession in 2013.

Portugal's two private channels, TVI and S.I.C., opposed the privatization because the economic slowdown has cut advertising revenue.

Debt-heavy Portugal needed a EUR78 billion ($104 billion) bailout in May 2011, and the government has vowed to cut state spending. RTP received EUR240 million of public funds in 2011.

Relvas said the broadcaster will be subject to a "painful" restructuring program.


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