AOL TW aids Latin unit

Stocks close up 3.14%

NEW YORK — AOL Latin America said a $160 million cash infusion from investor AOL Time Warner will fund the company’s operations through the end of 2002.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al Waleed bin Talal said in a statement he spent $1 billion over the past six months to boost his holdings in AOL Time Warner, Priceline.com and Citigroup.

All three stocks rose, with AOL Time Warner closing up 3.14% to $27.28.

AOL Time Warner owns 40.8% of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based AOL Latin America, which will issue the giant conglom five-year convertible notes in exchange for the cash. AOL Latin America can redeem the notes for cash after 18 months and has the option to make interest payments in either cash or preferred stock.

AOL Latin shares fall 14%

Venezuela’s Cisneros group owns 39.2% of AOL Latin America, which operates in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina and is publicly traded on the Nasdaq market. Its shares fell nearly 14% to $2.60 Monday as investors fretted over potential earnings dilution if additional shares are issued. The $160 million worth of notes are convertible into AOL Latin America preferred stock.

The group’s co-chairmen, AOL Time Warner’s Bob Pittman and Cisneros’ Gustavo Cisneros, said the loan underscores their ongoing commitment to AOL Latin America, which launched in 1999.

Brazilian bank Banco Itau owns about 12% of AOL Latin America.

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