Dallas-based investment firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst
is in "advanced" negotiations to buy a stake in Argentina's powerful new
media group, CEI-Citicorp Holdings S.A.
Julio Baqueriza, a partner in BGS Group S.A. -- a Buenos
Aires, Argentina-based company created by Hicks, Muse earlier this year to scout out new
business opportunities in Latin America's Southern Cone region -- confirmed the
BGS is working with Hicks, Muse on the deal.
Baqueriza did not divulge what equity stake it and Hicks,
Muse were discussing with CEI. But he said that if negotiations continued on course, a
deal would likely be struck any day. Last week, Reuters in Buenos Aires, quoting a source
at CEI, reported that Hicks, Muse was negotiating a 30 percent to 40 percent stake in CEI
for a sum of $1 billion.
Hicks, Muse is no stranger to Argentina's rather
incestuous pay TV market, having worked with many of the players that it is now hatching
The company had an indirect stake in cable company
Mandeville Partners Argentina S.A., which it later sold to CEI and its partners. The three
major executives who managed Mandeville, including Baqueriza, now head BGS, which acts as
a management consultancy to Hicks, Muse. Although Hicks, Muse and BGS are separate
corporate entities, they work together to secure deals like the CEI one that is now in
In the last year, CEI has taken Argentina's pay TV
industry by storm, along with its two powerful partners -- Tele-Communications
International Inc. (TINTA) and Telefónica de España Internaciónal (TISA). They pursue
new business ventures both on the cable-operations and programming sides of the business.
Together, the three companies have rapidly become a major
pay TV force, rivaling that of long-established Argentine media company Grupo Clarín.