"We (aim) to build a strong Internet business in Latin America", says Luis Frias, president of UOL. After Argentina, there are plans to expand to Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. UOL also aims to reach the Hispanic Internet market in the U.S., he adds.
The Spanish-language UOL portal will have a regional structure with small adaptations for each market.
Folha and Abril will have 87,5% of the new international company, leaving the rest to the international investors attracted by Morgan Stanley. Other investors include Blackstone Capital Partners III andProvidence Equity Partners, Credit Suisse First Boston Garantia Private Equity funds, DB Capital Partners Latin America, Hambrecht & Quist, Latinvest Asset Management and Reuters Group PLC.
"Investors were impressed by the growth of UOL in the Brazilian Internet market", says William Araskog, director at Lazard Freres & Co. responsible for raising the finance.
UOL International has hired Rainuzzo DDB, Buenos Aires to handle Spanish-language advertising. UOL's Brazilian agency is DM9 DDB, Sao Paulo.
UOL has also announced exclusive rights to reproduce The New York Times in Spanish in its Web site.
Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.