Carlos Slim takes stake in holding company of Televisa

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MEXICO CITY--One of Latin America's wealthiest businessmen, Carlos Slim, has taken a stake in Televicentro, the private holding company that controls Grupo Televisa.

Sinca Inbursa, a venture capital fund controlled by Mr. Slim, purchased a 24% stake in Televicentro, which had united Televisa's founding families. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the shares will be held in a neutral trust, with no voting rights. Nor will Mr. Slim have a managerial role, analysts say.

In local press reports, Mr. Slim has described the investment as purely financial. Televicentro had been indebted to Inbursa.

Chairman-CEO Emilio Azcarraga continues to hold 51% of the holding, which is believed to include shares actually owned by his three sisters. His cousin and No. 2 Televisa executive, Alejandro Burillo, has increased his stake from 14% to 25%.

Analysts say Televicentro controls roughly 44% of Televisa. The door to Televicentro had been opened to an out-side investor last month, when Televisa executive Miguel Aleman Magnani and his father, former executive Miguel Aleman Velasco, announced they were selling their 14% stake in Televicentro, which Mr. Azcarraga and Mr. Burillo said could be acquired by a third party. Another set of cousins to both men, the Diez Barroso family, who had been brought in on a temporary basis, were also cashing out.

Via Mr. Slim's control of Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex), he is also a partner with Televisa in pay TV. Telmex owns 49% of cable company Cablevision, and had tried to buy out the other half a few years ago, an attempt squashed by Mexico's Federal Competition Commission. Telmex is also one of Mexico's biggest TV advertisers, as are Mr. Slim's retail companies, such as Sears de Mexico.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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