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Moneta takes over at CEI

Banco Republica head in charge of No. 2 media group

BUENOS AIRES — Raul Moneta, head of Banco Republica, has taken the reins at CEI, replacing Richard Handley, the brains behind CEI, Argentina’s No. 2 media player.

Banco Republica has a 40% stake in the Citibank-created holding company.

CEI, in which U.S. investors Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst have a 33% stake, has helped turn Argentina’s media landscape upside-down in the past two years, consolidating ownership in both the broadcast and cable sectors.

Under Handley’s leadership, CEI has taken positions in MSO CableVision — now one of Argentina’s two cable giants — and in broadcasters Telefe and Canal 9, as well as in Telefonica de Argentina and other assets.

Handley is said to have fallen out with Moneta, a rumor that Handley denied in a press conference Friday.

“International expansion is coming up, and many other projects are to be closed in the very near future which will need a man who will stay for long in the company. I had planned to retire to another business soon,” Handley said.

CEI is close to partnering with Brazilian media conglom Abril, in a deal that would likely involve its taking a stake in Abril’s paybox TVA and Abril’s investing in Argentine publishing house Atlantida, part-owned by CEI.

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