Telecom Italia pays $810 million for 30% stake in Brazil's

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SAO PAULO--Italian telecoms giant Telecom Italia has acquired 30% of, the portal operated by Brazilian publishing group Globo, for $810 million, making it the biggest-ever Internet deal in Latin America.

Other recent Internet acquisitions in the region include Spain's Banco Santander's $570 million purchase of a 75% stake in Argentine financial services Web site Patagon, and Portugal Telecom's $365 million acquisition of local access provider ZipNet.

Telecom Italia's immediate plans are to launch's access services and content in Spanish-speaking markets and to introduce Internet services via cellular phones in Brazil through local operators Tele Celular Sul and Tele Nordeste Celular, both controlled by Telecom Italia.'s portal currently has 700,000 visitors a day and represents almost a third of total Internet advertising spent in Brazil.

Apart from Brazil, Telecom Italia is present in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Cuba, handling at least 10% of the telecom traffic in Latin America.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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