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Clarín accepts offer for ‘Cablevisión 2’

AFSCA head Martín Sabattella (centre) is seen along with Clarín Group legal representatives in 2012.
Foreign investor willing to pay US$28 million, subject to review by AFSCA and shareholders

The Clarín Group has accepted an offer made by a Chilean businessman and a US counterpart to purchase 60 percent of the second-most-valuable company to be spun off its flagship cable TV company Cablevisión, a decision that is subject to shareholder approval.

The offer was made by Gerardo Martí Casadevall and Christophe DiFalco, who are willing to pay US$28 million for 60 percent of the new company composed by 24 Cablevisión licences following an imminent decision by the media giant to divide itself to comply with the Broadcast Media Law.

This society is known as Unit 3 in Clarín’s divestment plan presented before the AFSCA media watchdog last November, and comprises 24 cable television licences in the provinces.

The information was made known late Tuesday night by the Clarín Group, which informed the securities regulator (CNV) and the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange that the company’s board of directors had held a two-hour meeting that same day where the offer was discussed.

During that conclave, Clarín directors Jorge Carlos Rendo, Héctor Mario Aranda and Luis María Blaquier, among others, considered the “irrevocable offer” received by the investors “in connection with the purchase of the shares of spun-off company 2 of Cablevisión SA.”

Clarín representatives said the transaction was subject to a number of conditions, including a final approval by the shareholders of Cablevisión and the prior regulatory authorization from the AFSCA media watchdog led by Martín Sabbatella.

This may be a point of contention as the Media Law passed into law in 2009 (and deemed constitutional in October last year) poses a series of restrictions regarding foreign media ownership.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the board decided to accept the offer “after a long debate” where directors took into account the fact that the value of assets in Argentina were “negatively affected by country risk” and that a Fairness Opinion by Banco de Itaú BBA said the price offered was “a fair market value.”

Last week, a high source from AFSCA told the Herald that the media watchdog will not give final approval to adjustment plans presented by Telefónica and Vila-Manzano conglomerates before it deals with the proposal submitted by Clarín.

Days before, the Clarín Group detailed the November plan before the CNV securities regulator saying it intended to divide Cablevisión into three independent business units — one of which has now received a formal offer.

The odd couple

The leader of the proposal is Chilean businessman Casadevall, who has a long experience in the local cable TV business. Previously, he was an executive for telecommunications company Telefónica de Chile and cable company VTR. According to the daily El Cronista, he has also led other projects in Peru, Colombia and Brazil.

His partner DiFalco is a US lawyer that represents a number of investment funds in the United States.

Herald staff

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