BUENOS AIRES — After all its wheeling and dealing, Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) will be staying in Argentina.
The telecommunications giant will, however, sell 25% of the shares it had in the Argentine cable Cable Vision to a group that already owns part of the cable competitor.
Culminating months of negotiations (Daily Variety, July 11), TCI has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for the sale of one half of its 51% ownership interest in Cablevision, Argentina’s third-largest MSO with 580,000 subs. The 25.5 % interest is to be purchased by the Citicorp Equity Investment group, (CEI), which owns 24.5% of Multicanal, the country’s largest MSO with 1.3 million subs.
The Citicorp group also will purchase 30% from Eduardo Eurnekian, TCI’s partner in CableVision, bringing its total stake in CableVision to 64.5%. CEI is comprised of Citibank and Argentina’s Banco Republica and the Banco Mercantil.
The agreement includes TCI’s management of Cable Vision for the five years following closing and a “must-carry” provision, pertaining to all channels created, represented or distributed by TCI and its affiliates. George Stewart, head of CableVision-TCI’s O&Os in Buenos Aires, told Daily Variety Monday that “TCI is here to stay.”
However, negotiations between TCI and US West, which recently increased its stake in VCC (Argentina’s second largest MSO) are ongoing.