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Grande greenbacks

Hicks closes $1.2 bil Latin investment fund

MIAMI — Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. has announced the closing of its Latin America Fund, a $1.2 billion kitty for media investments in the region.

The sum comprises $250 million channeled into an existing joint venture fund with Venezuela’s Cisneros Group, Ibero-American Media Partners, and another $960 million targeted for investments made by HMT&F alone.

Last week Hicks, Muse completed a $720 million purchase of a 32.6% stake in Argentine holding group CEI.

Part of that coin comes from the company’s Latin America Fund, while the remainder comes from other Hicks, Muse funds, he said.

Via CEI, Hicks, Muse is said to be close to an equity swap with Brazil’s Abril Group, a publishing giant that is seeking to expand its pay-TV arm TVA by bidding for new cable licenses.

In return for CEI’s cable-TV expertise, Abril would help bolster publisher Editorial Atlantida, in which CEI has a 30% stake.

Also confirmed Tuesday, HMT&F has acquired Argentine outdoor advertising company Meca, for an undisclosed sum.

Other assets in the Latin America Fund are Venezuelan cable operator Intercable and, in conjunction with Cisneros, several Chilean properties including niche broadcaster Rock’n’Pop.

Outside the fund, Hicks, Muse has a 20% stake in Mexico’s Grupo MVS, which includes paybox Multivision, and through Chancellor Media it is closing a 50% acquisition of Mexico’s top radio chain, Radio Centro.

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