Venezuelan TV Giant Cisneros Said to Go Shopping in Argentina

  • Acquisition would bolster Latin American media giant’s output
  • Venezuela’s Venevision owner may work with partner on deal

Cisneros Group of Cos., which controls Venezuelan network Venevision, is actively looking to acquire producers of video programming in Argentina, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The Venezuelan group, which lost a bid last year to acquire Argentine broadcaster Television Federal SA, is seeking to bolster its output of TV shows through a deal in Argentina, which has long been a source of soap operas and dramas that are popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world and in markets such as Russia and Israel. An acquisition may surface in a matter of weeks, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Cisneros Group spokesman Jonathan Blum declined to comment. The 88-year-old group is led by Chief Executive Officer Adriana Cisneros, who took over leadership from her father in 2013 and has pushed the company to expand through Latin America, with a focus on digital investments. Among other online businesses, Cisneros Group resells Facebook advertising in Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The winning bidder for Telefe, New York-based Viacom Inc., is making an initial investment of around $340 million, Argentine regulators said Friday in a statement approving the deal. Cisneros’s bid was $200 million lower than Viacom’s, the person familiar with the matter said. Time Warner Inc. also participated in the bidding process.

In its bid for Telefe, closely held Cisneros had been in talks with Globant SA, a Buenos Aires-based technology-services provider that could help with digital distribution of telenovelas and other content produced by the Venezuelan company. Globant declined to comment. The Argentine company’s shares rose less than 1 percent to $36.51 Friday in New York trading.

Cisneros’s foray into Argentina would be a win for Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who has been working to encourage foreign investment in the country and has pledged to open up competition in telecommunications and media.

— With assistance by Charlie Devereux

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