Hicks, Muse acquires 49% stake in leading Latin American owner of soccer exhibition rights

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DALLAS--Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst has acquired a 49% stake in Brazil's Traffic, which controls broadcast, cable and pay-per-view exhibition rights to leading Latin American soccer events. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Traffic's portfolio of exhibition rights includes the Brazilian Championships, the World Cup qualifying tournament for Latin America, the Mercosur Cup and the Copa America. Hicks Muse will also provide capital for the acquisition of additional rights and programming.

The Muller Sports Group, Hicks Muse's management affiliate for sports-related investments, will join current execs in the management of Traffic.

"This transaction represents an important step in our global investment efforts as Traffic gives us access to a content portfolio that is unmatched in Latin America," said Charles W. Tate, president of Hicks Muse.

"Latin American soccer boast(s) the finest competition in the world but (has) never been properly positioned to reapthe benefits of worldwide revenue sources," said Roberto Muller, president of the Muller Sports Group. "We plan to implement strategies, modeled after the initiatives that transformed European soccer, to help Traffic achieve maximumsuccess on a global basis."

Since its formation in 1989, Hicks Muse has completed more than 300 transactions with a total capital value of $36 billion. In Latin America, the company has invested or committed to invest about $1.9 billion since 1996.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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