October 21, 2014
Fintech sells part of its Cablevisión stake
David Martínez says he will sell the rest of his shares in cable firm if Telecom deal goes through
The Fintech Advisory fund led by Mexican business magnate David Martínez confirmed this week that it has “successfully” concluded negotiations to sell its 40 percent stake in cable company Cablevisión.
When Cablevisión was split into three business units as part of a broad plan to fulfill the requirements
of the 2009 Broadcast Media Law, Martínez’s original stake became a 40 percent stake in each of the three business units.
On Sunday night, Fintech announced it had found two business leaders willing to buy its stake in the so-called Unit 3 of the proposed division of the Clarín Group, which would include 20 cable licences in the provinces: Gerardo Martí Casadevall, from Chile, and Christophe DiFalco, from the United States.
As the Herald reported last week, Casadevall and DiFalco had already announced their intention to purchase 60 percent of the Unit 3 for some US$28 million.
Casadevall is a former executive of telecommunications company Telefónica de Chile and cable-television company VTR, while DiFalco represents a number of investment funds in the United States.
Martínez also informed the CNV securities regulator that he would be selling his 40 percent stake of the first Cablevisión spin-off, part of the Unit 1 of Clarín Group’s divestment plan, to investor Alejandro Carlos Estrada. If the operation takes place as outlined, Estrada will become a partner of current directors Lucio Pagliaro and José Aranda.
The proposed Unit 1, which, like the entire plan by Grupo Clarín still has to be approved by the AFSCA media watchdog, also includes Radio Mitre and Artear SA, owner of broadcast TV station Channel 13, news channel TN and other broadcast TV channels throughout the country.
Fintech also reported that if it ends up receiving regulatory approval to buy telecommunications giant Telecom Argentina, he would offer up for sale his 40 percent stake in the original Cablevisión — which would comprise 24 cable licences as well as Internet service provider Fibertel.
If his offer for Telecom Argentina gets a green light, Martínez won’t have much of a choice as the Media Law forbids those who provide public utilities from also owning stakes in media companies. The Mexican businessman would sell his share “to a foreign cable TV operator,” Fintech said in a news release. According to Clarín’s proposal, this original Cablevisión will be led by Clarín Group CEO Héctor Magnetto and owner Ernestina Herrera de Noble, who together hold 60 percent of the shares.
As the Herald reported last year, Martínez has held US$700 million of Argentine debt purchased between 2004 and 2006. He became an outspoken ally of the national government — and therefore at odds with Cablevisión’s majority stakeholders — as part of a strategy of negotiation to discredit the holdout hedge funds — the ones the government likes to call “vultures” — that have refused all efforts to restructure defaulted sovereign debt.
Fintech’s news release came a day after the surprising announcement by the Perfil Group — the company that owns weekend newspaper Perfil and a number of magazines — that it would make an offer for the media outlets grouped under the so-called Unit 4.
The print company led by Jorge Fontevecchia said it had “sent a letter of intent to Clarín, to AFSCA and to the CNV securities regulator” expressing its interest to buy cable news channels TyC Sports, TyC Max, El Trece Satelital, Magazine, Volver, Quiero Música, Metro and Canal Rural.