New York -- Investors rushed to snap up $80 million
in debt issued last week for Imasac S.A., an Argentine unit of the Cisneros Group of Cos.
The senior notes for Imasac, sold in a private placement,
were between five and 10 times oversubscribed, a source close to the sale said. Imasac is
the holding company for Buenos Aires, Argentina-based Imagen Satelital S.A., CGC's
pay TV-programming unit.
Proceeds from the sale will be used mainly to repay
interest and principal on a $50 million bridge loan that was used to acquire Imagen
Satelital in 1997. CGC paid a total of $109 million for the company -- one of Latin
America's biggest pay TV programmers, which produces six of its own channels and
distributes another one-dozen.
The debt issue's success "is attributable not
only to the value and potential of Imagen Satelital and our media strategy, but also to
the increased viability of the Latin American and, specifically, Argentine economy,"
said Gustavo Cisneros, CGC's chairman and CEO.
A source close to the sale added that the Cisneros family
name is also held in high regard with investors.
The strong demand for the debt helped to push the interest
rate, payable to investors twice a year, down to 11 percent -- slightly lower that
originally expected, the source said. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of the debt was
bought by U.S.-based investors.
Bond-rating agencies Standard & Poor's Corp. and
Fitch IBCA assigned a "B+" rating to both Imasac and the debt. The placement was
led by Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., while Violy Byorum & Partners acted as financial
advisor to Imasac and CGC.