B'caster rejiggers finances

MEXICO CITY — Addressing concerns about its stockholder composition and large cash reserves, Grupo Televisa announced a new dividend and a major restructuring that will centralize control of the net.

Moves lay to rest concerns that stockholders in Televicentro, a private holding company that controls a majority stake in the Mexican broadcaster, would exercise an outstanding option to buy a large block of publicly traded Televisa stock, threatening the net’s stability.

Televicentro will cease to exist under the complex arrangement. Emilio Azcarraga Jean, majority shareholder in Televicentro and Televisa’s chairman and CEO, will remain the net’s largest single stockholder and will solidify his position.

The restructuring will not dilute Televisa shareholder value.

In a special Televisa stock split, Televicentro stockholders — the Aramburuzabala and Fernandez families and telephone magnate Carlos Slim — will receive Televisa shares in exchange for their Televicentro stakes. In addition, Televisa will issue a new series of “B” series common stock.

It will offer more liquidity to its largest shareholders. They will enter into a trust agreement, in which Azcarraga will be obliged to allow the sale of the majority of the newly issued Televisa stock or buy it back at a markup by July 2005.

In a separate announcement, Televisa announced a new 1.22 peso (11¢) dividend. Net said it would regularly pay the dividend to shareholders in the absence of special investment opportunities.

In NYSE trading on Thursday, Grupo Televisa rose $1.62 to $44.62 per share.

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