Grupo Zeta

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Grupo Zeta was a Spanish media conglomerate which owned several newspapers and magazines. Founded by Antonio Asensio in 1976, it launched the magazines Interviú and Tiempo before its most successful title, the daily newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya. From 1986 to 2017, it owned the publishing house Ediciones B. In 2008, debts of €140 million led to the company making large redundancies and taking a €245 million loan. Grupo Zeta was acquired by Prensa Ibérica in 2019, a year after shutting down the physical copies of its first two magazines. Its assets at the time were eight newspapers and twelve magazines.

Foundation and growth[edit]

Headquarters in Barcelona

Antonio Asensio took over his family's phototypesetting business at the age of 18 in 1965, due to the death of his father. He four friends set up Grupo Zeta in March 1976 during the Spanish transition to democracy, starting with a capital of 500,000 Spanish pesetas. Their first title was the weekly magazine Interviú, followed by Tiempo. Interviú, which combined political news with interviews and photographs of semi-naked women, reached a circulation of 1 million by 1978.[1][2]

On 26 October 1978, Grupo Zeta launched the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, which went on to become Catalonia's most circulated newspaper and the company's leading product.[3] From 1977 to 1982 it owned the satirical magazine El Jueves, which subsequently went independent.[4] An attempt to replicate its flagship newspaper in the Spanish capital city as El Periódico de Madrid failed within months in the late 1970s.[5] In November 1979, the Barcelona-based sporting newspaper Sport was launched.[6]

Grupo Zeta acquired the publishing house Editorial Bruguera in 1986, renaming it Ediciones B.[7] In 1988, the Kuwait Investment Authority acquired 15% of Grupo Zeta. In October 1989, the company was owned 75% by Asensio and 25% by Rupert Murdoch's News International.[2]

Grupo Zeta acquired 99% of the football club RCD Mallorca in 1998, and together with former ABC editor Luis María Ansón, launched the conservative tabloid La Razon weeks later.[2] Asensio died of a brain tumour aged 53 in April 2001, being succeeded by his 19-year-old son of the same name. At the time, the company owned ten magazines and six newspapers; it made 61 billion pesetas (€360 million) per year, with profits of 3 billion (€18 million).[3]

Debts and acquisition by Prensa Ibérica[edit]

Grupo Zeta laid off 533 of its 2,400 employees in November 2008, due to debts of €140 million.[8] The following March, it signed a five-year loan of €245 million from 24 creditors, mainly Banco Popular Español, La Caixa and Banco Sabadell.[9]

In January 2010, Grupo Zeta sold La Voz de Asturias to Mediapro, having owned the title since 1986.[10] It acquired Odiel Información in October 2011, renaming it El Periódico de Huelva.[11] Within two years, the title shut down in physical form.[12] Also in 2013, Grupo Zeta shut down Ciudad de Alcoy, a 60-year-old title it had possessed since 1999.[13]

In April 2017, Ediciones B was sold to Penguin Random House for €40 million.[7] In January 2018, the company ended Interviú and Tiempo in physical form, citing €7 million losses over the last five years, 65% drop in circulation in that period and 80% in the past decade.[1]

In 2019, Grupo Zeta possessed eight daily newspapers: El Periódico de Catalunya, El Periódico de Aragón, El Periódico Extremadura, La Crónica de Badajoz, Córdoba, El Periódico Mediterráneo, Sport and La Grada. It also owned 12 magazines.[14] In April that year, with debts of nearly €100 million, Grupo Zeta was acquired by its competitor Prensa Ibérica. The combined readership of both companies was 2.25 million.[15] The acquisition was ratified the following month by the CNMC, Spain's competition regulator.[16]


  1. ^ a b Fernández, Eduardo (8 January 2018). "El Grupo Zeta cierra las revistas Interviú y Tiempo" [Grupo Zeta closes down the magazines Interviú and Tiempo]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Biografía de Antonio Asensio Pizarro" [Biography of Antonio Asensio Pizarro] (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. 20 April 2001. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b "La intuición de Antonio "Azencio"" [The intuition of Antonio "Azencio"]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 22 April 2001. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  4. ^ Guillamet Lloveras, Jaume (29 June 2020). Revistas para la democracia: El papel de la prensa no diaria durante la Transición (in Spanish). Universitat de València. ISBN 978-84-9134-601-2. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Antonio Asensio Pizarro" (in Spanish). Real Academia de la Historia. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  6. ^ Sainz de Baranda Andújar, Clara (2014). "Prensa deportiva nacional y regional en España". Historia y Comunicación Social (in Spanish). 19: 110. ISSN 1988-3056. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b Nawotka, Ed (7 April 2017). "PRH acquires Barcelona-based Ediciones B from Grupo Zeta". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  8. ^ Longhi-Bracaglia, I.; Ruiz, V. (13 November 2008). "Zeta anuncia 533 despidos en su plantilla de 2.400 empleados" [Zeta announces 533 layoffs from its list of 2,400 employees]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  9. ^ "El grupo Zeta firma un crédito de 245 millones de euros para refinanciar su deuda" [Grupo Zeta signs a loan of 245 million euros to refinance its debt]. Cinco Días (in Spanish). 18 March 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  10. ^ "'Público' llega a un preacuerdo para comprar 'La Voz de Asturias'" ['Público' reaches a pre-agreement to buy 'La Voz de Asturias']. El Mundo (in Spanish). EFE. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Grupo Zeta y Odiel llegan a acuerdo para lanzar "El periódico de Huelva"" [Grupo Zeta and Odiel reach an agreement to launch "El periódico de Huelva"]. La Infomación (in Spanish). 14 October 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  12. ^ "'El periódico de Huelva' deja el papel pero mantiene a casi toda su plantilla" ['El periódico de Huelva' leaves paper form but maintains nearly all of its staff]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 6 August 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  13. ^ "El periódico «Ciudad de Alcoy» echa el cierre tras 60 años" ["Ciudad de Alcoy" newspaper closes down after 60 years]. Levante-EMV (in Spanish). 1 May 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  14. ^ Fernández, Eduardo (29 April 2019). "La compra del Grupo Zeta extiende el perímetro de Prensa Ibérica por los quioscos de España" [Purchase of Grupo Zeta extends Prensa Ibérica's perimeter around Spain's kiosks]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  15. ^ "Prensa Ibérica anuncia la compra del Grupo Zeta" [Prensa Ibérica announces purchase of Grupo Zeta]. El Confidencial (in Spanish). EFE. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  16. ^ Zarzalejos, Álvaro G. (14 May 2019). "Competencia sella la venta de Zeta a Prensa Ibérica tras aprobar la operación" [Competition regulator rubber-stamps the sale of Zeta to Prensa Ibérica after approving of the operation]. El Confidencial (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 March 2022.