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Televisa takes Slim chance

Businessman holds 24% of stake

MEXICO CITY — The long restructuring saga at Televisa holding company Televicentro seems to have reached a close with the entrance of Carlos Slim, Latin America’s richest businessman, as a 24% shareholder.

Sinca Inbursa, a Mexican venture capital fund controled by Slim, has entered Televicentro as a passive investor, with no voting rights. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Inbursa is said to have paid $350 mil in a debt-for-equity swap.

The door to Televicentro was opened to outside investors last month, when the Aleman family announced they were selling their 14% stake (Daily Variety, April 7).

CEO Emilio Azcarraga now holds a 51% stake, which is believed to include shares owned by his three sisters, while his cousin, Alejandro Burillo, the company’s No. 2, has upped his stake from 14% to 25%.

Another set of cousins, the Diez Barroso family, had entered Televicentro on a short-term basis with 21%, which they have also sold.

The Inbursa deal does not preclude a later sale to a strategic, possibly foreign partner, said Leonardo Simpser of Deutsche Morgan. Telefonica de Espana, for one, previously expressed an interest.

Televisa stock closed up $5 Thursday to $47.75.