TV Azteca in $350 mil debt offer

MEXICO CITY — TV Azteca CEO Ricardo Salinas Pliego is on the road this month, drumming up interest in a $350 million debt offering the broadcaster plans to make in early February.

The coin will chiefly repay existing convertible debt of $291 million held by a syndicate of three Mexican banks; the banks include Inbursa, owned by Carlos Slim, who is CEO of telco giant Telmex. Another $34 million will be used as working capital.

Handled by Bear, Stearns & Co. and Salomon Bros., the offering will be effected in two parts, with debt coming due in 2004 and 2007.

Azteca is Mexico’s No. 2 broadcaster behind Televisa. According to the offering memorandum, Azteca estimates its share of TV ad spending grew to 22% for the first nine months of 1996.

The offering has been qualified with a B grade by Standard & Poor’s.

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