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Planeta President’s death mourned by Catalan and Spanish political, business and cultural circles

José Manuel Lara Bosch, President and partial owner of the Barcelona-based Grupo Planeta – the world’s largest publisher in Spanish language – died on Saturday in the Catalan capital aged 68, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His funeral was held on Monday in Barcelona and it brought together top representatives from Catalonia’s and Spain’s political, business, media and cultural worlds. Grupo Planeta owns many publishing houses as well as TV channels, radio stations and newspapers. It also grants each year the biggest prize in Spanish literature. In the late 1960s, Lara Bosch started to hold top positions in the family’s publishing house Planeta, founded by his father. In the 1980s, he was behind the business’ expansion, buying many publishing houses. His brother’s early death in 1995 made him become the group’s ‘number 2’ after his father, who passed away in 2003. In the 1990s and 2000s, Bosch transformed Planeta into a multimedia giant.

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02 February 2015 09:20 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- José Manuel Lara Bosch, President and partial owner of the Barcelona-based Grupo Planeta – the world’s largest publisher in Spanish language – died on Saturday in the Catalan capital aged 68, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His funeral was held on Monday in Barcelona and it brought together top representatives from Catalonia’s and Spain’s political, business, media and cultural worlds. Grupo Planeta owns many publishing houses as well as TV channels, radio stations and newspapers, such as ‘Antena 3’, ‘La Sexta’, ‘Onda Cero’ and ‘La Razón’. It also awards each year the biggest prize in Spanish literature: the Premio Planeta. 


In the late 1960s, Lara Bosch started to hold top positions in the family’s publishing house Planeta, founded by his father. In the 1980s, he was behind the business’ expansion, buying many publishing houses, also in Catalan language. His brother’s early death in 1995 made him the group’s ‘number 2’ after his father. Lara Bosch’s father passed away in 2003 and he headed the business until now. In the 1990s and 2000s, Lara Bosch transformed Planeta into a multimedia giant. He was a talented businessman and a skilful negotiator, with close relations and even friendship with top business people and politicians from Madrid and Barcelona.

Furthermore, he was quite vocal, supporting former Prime Minister José María Aznar and the People’s Party (PP) in the 1990s, but also having a good relationship with former Socialist leader and PM José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero during the last decade. Lara Bosch was strongly against Catalonia’s independence from Spain. In fact, in 2012, he said that if Catalonia became independent the family group “would have to move to Zaragoza, Madrid or Cuenca”. However, in 2014, he nuanced that statement and added that “logically” Planeta's editorial houses publishing in Catalan would stay in Barcelona. In addition, he criticised the Spanish and Catalan Government for not having shared a dialogue on “the disaffection” that many Catalan citizens feel towards Spain.

A funeral with many politicians, businessmen and writers

Representatives from the political, business, media and cultural worlds, both from Madrid and Barcelona, gathered together in Barcelona on Monday early afternoon to give José Manuel Lara Bosch his final farewell. The funeral of Grupo Planeta’s President took place in the Concepció Basilica, in Barcelona’s Eixample neighbourhood. One thousand people attended, 400 of which were forced to stand outside the church.

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, were present, together with many other personalities such as Barcelona Mayor, Xavier Trias; former Spanish PM, José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero; former Catalan President José Montilla; and many Catalan and Spanish Ministers from both past and present. The business community was represented by the President of the CEO (Spain’s largest employers’ association), Juan Rosell; President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Manel Valls; OHL’s CEO and former Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Josep Piqué; and President of Barcelona Tourism Board, Joan Gaspart, among many others. Furthermore, many of them and other businesspeople, such as Telefónica’s President, César Alierta, were also present on Sunday in the Sant Gervasi funeral parlour.

Among others, writers such as Pere Gimferrer, Maruja Torres and Carlos Ruiz Zafón, all of whom have published books through Planeta’s publishing houses, also attended the funeral. In addition, FC Barcelona’s President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was also there, since the Lara family had been actively involved in the managing and ownership of RCD Espanyol, the second-largest football club in Barcelona and Barça’s local rival. In addition, famous journalists such as radio host Luís del Olmo, news anchor Matías Prat and TV interviewer Jordi Évole were also in attendance to pay their respects.

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  • José Manuel Lara Bosch, in the press conference of the last Planeta Award, one his last public appearances (by P. Cortina)

  • José Manuel Lara Bosch, in the press conference of the last Planeta Award, one his last public appearances (by P. Cortina)