Mexico's TV Azteca acquires half of Spanish-language portal

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MEXICO CITY--TV Azteca plans to secure a 50% stake in Spanish-language portal, subsidiary of Mexican company Grupo Dataflux.

The terms of the agreement are still under negotiation and subject to approval by Azteca's board. The company expects to pay for the share with ad time, content and sales support, among other services.

The announcement comes amid rumors that Azteca's rival and the country's leading network, Televisa, is considering a similar move with the Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex)-Microsoft Internet alliance.

Azteca President and Director General Ricardo Salinas, cheered by "the enormous potential" of the new medium, expects the acquisition to boost the network's stock, which has been battered this year by poor financial results and questionable management decisions.

"Todito will allow TV Azteca to create value for its shareholders since it will promote television content on the Internet," says Mr. Salinas. "To work with Todito will give us the advantage of having an alliance with one of the few established Internet providers in Mexico."

Azteca Finance Director Tim Parsa will become director general, effective immediately., a subsidiary of Grupo Dataflux, launched its services in August this year and provides e-commerce, news, entertainment and ISP services for its Spanish-speaking users in the North American.

Dataflux President Guillermo Salinas, brother of Ricardo, said recently that the portal plans an initial public offering with a 30% stake to be listed on both the Mexican and New York stock exchanges sometime next year. counts more than 600,000 page views and 75,000 registered users. The portal recently signed strategic alliances with long-distance telecom carrier Avantel and Banca Quadrum, the latter to providefinancing for users who purchase autos through the portal's e-commercechannel.

Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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