VTR ownership united

UIH buys out Hipercable for $258 mil

MIAMI — Denver-based United Intl. Holdings, a minority partner in Chile’s VTR Hipercable, has bought the remaining 60% of the cable operator for $258 million.

VTR Hipercable has 390,000 subscribers and claims to be the only multisystem operator in Latin America offering same-wire cable-telephony services to the public.

UIH purchased its stake from Quinenco, part of Chile’s giant Luksic Group, and U.S. telco SBC Intl.

“UIH now owns one of the fastest-growing cable-telephony operations in the world. VTR is adding over 4,500 residential telephone customers each month,” UIH prexy Mike Fries said.

Finance director Stan DiCicco told Daily Variety that this year UIH would prioritize growing VTR’s cable-telephone customer base, which now stands at 33,000, and introducing Internet services.

“We’ll be able to offer cable, telephone service and Internet or any combination of the three,” DiCicco said.

VTR is the chief Latino asset of UIH, which also has cable interests in Mexico, Brazil and Peru, plus a slew of holdings throughout Europe, where it has pioneered cable-telephony services in five countries.