Spain's Banco Santander has retained Bankers Trust New York Corp. to advise it on the sale of the media interests of Banco Espanol de Credito, or Banesto, according to Spanish press reports.

Officials at Santander could not be reached for comment, and a Bankers Trust spokesman in New York was unable to confirm the report.

However, sources said the bank's London-based investment banking unit, Bankers Trust International, will handle the sale.

Mexican media conglomerates are said to be among the parties interested in purchasing the Spanish bank's holdings, including a minority stake in the television station Antena 3 and in the El Mundo newspaper group.

The sale of Banesto's media interests is part of a broader disposal of assets by Santander, which acquired a 60% stake in Banesto for $2 billion in April.

Banesto was taken over by Spanish regulators in December after the value of its assets proved to be far less than was reported.

Emilio Botim, Santander's chairman, told journalists in Madrid on Tuesday that Santander will sell off Banesto's industrial holdings over the next several months.

Banking operations outside Spain, including those in the United States, will also be sold off or absorbed into Santander's own network.

Santander has been expanding in the United States for several years and has applied to the Federal Reserve Board for approval to underwrite and distribute corporate securities.

The bank is the second-biggest financial institution in Puerto Rico, with some $4.5 billion in assets. It has around $8 billion in total U.S. assets.

Banesto, which runs a Miami agency and a New York branch, has approximately $1.2 billion in U.S. assets. It also has units in Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina that could be merged with those of Santander.

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