Argentine cablers set for merger

BUENOS AIRES — Merger talks between the owners of CableVision and VCC, Argentina’s second- and third-largest MSO, respectively, have moved into the final stages.

High-placed sources within the companies confirmed the plan to join the two cablers and split the new MSO between the Citibank Equity Investment (CEI) equity group and TCI (45%), U.S. telco US West (45%), CableVision topper Eduardo Eurnekian (5%) and VCC chief Samuel Liberman (5%).

The Citibank group last week upped its stake in CableVision to 64% in a deal with TCI (Daily Variety, July 30).

The cash injection resulting from CEI’s presence on the Argentine cable scene will enable the cablers to boost production at an opportune time. The market for Spanish-language programming is growing and two digital platforms are to launch next year in Spain.

The merger will be a plus for delivery, too, as CEI owns 50% of telco Cointel, the operator of Telefonica de Argentina.

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