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TVA debuts debt plan

Firm to swap some of $142 million debt with Abril

SAO PAOLO — Brazilian pay TV operator TVA announced a debt restructuring, the pending sales of its remaining programming assets and improving quarterly results at the Brazilian Pay TV and Telecom Assn. (ABTA) confab.

TVA will swap some of its $142 million in debt with the majority shareholder, media conglom Abril, whose holding currently stands at 62%. Once the swap is completed, TVA will have just $85.5 million in debt. The four partners in TVA — Disney, Chase Manhattan, Falcon Intl. and Hearst — will see their stakes reduced.

The restructuring is aimed at making TVA, the No. 2 MSO in Brazil with 17% of the pay TV market, more attractive to potential buyers. Abril has been trying to sell control of TVA since late 1998.

TVA is in talks with a foreign company for the sale of its wholly owned Eurochannel, a local web that features Euro films and series. It is also negotiating the sale of its 24% stake in HBO Brasil, which is the country’s second largest distributor of pay TV programming.

In second quarter results, TVA reported net revenue was up 8.5% to $27.8 million from $25.6 million in the first quarter. Its sub count rose to 326,246, up 5.4% from the end of 1999. Company officials highlighted that increase, given that sub growth was virtually flat in 1999, in large part due to the recession in Brazil that year.

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