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US West ups Latin cable stake

BUENOS AIRES — US West Media Group reportedly has increased by 40% its stake in Argentina’s second-largest multisystem operator Video Cable Comunicacion (VCC), which is jointly owned by Samuel Liberman and Continental.

VCC spokesman Martin Keindle refused to confirm the sale, but did not deny it. US West, which reportedly paid an estimated $340 million for the package, already possessed 50% of the 670,000-subscriber cable system through its partnership with Continental, which purchased it in 1994. VCC, according to Argentine newspaper La Nacion, is worth about $850 million.

For months, Argentina awaited the announcement of the merger between Cable Vision-TCI and VCC. But in recent weeks, news leaked that giant Tele-Communications Inc. had chosen to sell a large percentage of the company, if not 100%, for $500 million to Citicorp Equity Investment.

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