Clarin To Spin Off Cablevision as Fight With Telefonica Heats Up

  • Argentine media group to list unit in at least two countries
  • Clarin to offer bundle services to better compete in Argentina

Grupo Clarin SA, Argentina’s biggest media group, plans to spin off its cable and Internet business as it positions itself to compete with the country’s phone carriers. The shares jumped.

The separation of the Cablevision unit will probably be completed in the first quarter of 2017 and the shares of the new company will be listed in Buenos Aires and on at least one other exchange outside Argentina, the Buenos Aires-based media group said in a statement on Wednesday. The new company will be called Cablevision Holding SA, or CVH, and it will manage cable television, Internet and data transmission businesses.

“CVH will further benefit from being a stand-alone public company in the attractive telecommunications, cable television and Internet sector where we see a significant growth opportunity and opportunities for investment," Alejandro Urricelqui, Clarin’s vice chairman, said in the statement.

Clarin’s London-listed shares rose 3.1 percent to $19.85 at 11:35 a.m., the biggest intraday increase since July 25.

Clarin has been positioning itself to compete with Argentina’s three main phone operators -- Telefonica SA, Telecom Argentina SA and America Movil SAB -- since September, when it bought a minority stake in the local unit of wireless carrier Nextel. It acquired full control of the assets in January and snapped up further mobile frequency operators since then as it seeks to start offering packages that bundle Internet, TV and fixed- and mobile-phone services.

Clarin began the push into mobile as Mauricio Macri became president in December, ending years of conflict with former leader Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Macri removed the regulations enacted in past years that affected its operations.

Clarin owns 60 percent of Cablevision, with Fintech Advisory Inc. owning the rest. Fintech also controls Telecom Argentina SA, one of the country’s main phone companies. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising Clarin.

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