(Latin America Herald Tribune) May 15, 2010 – Chilean President Sebastian Piñera is selling the Chilevision channel, which he owns, to a local investment fund, Linzor Capital, and a group of the television channel’s executives.
According to a communique on Friday from Bancard, one of the president’s investment firms, he signed a commitment on Friday to sell 220,211,807 shares, which represents 100 percent of the TV channel’s ownership.
“The transaction will take place in the space of approximately 60 days, following the process of a legal and financial audit,” the communique said, without specifying the sales price.
The Chilean president’s investment firm added that the transaction will produce $24 million in taxes for the treasury.
Linzor Capital was founded in 2006 by Chile’s ex-CEO for JP Morgan, Tim Purcell, together with the Argentine Alfredo Irigoin. They were later joined by Argentine executive Carlos Ingham.
With an initial funding of $200 million, the company began buying up medium-sized companies to boost their value and subsequently sell them.
In July 2007 it acquired the operations of Cine Hoyts in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and the following year bought from the ING holding company the control of Cruz Blanca, a private health-care company, to which it later added three clinics.
According to Bancard, the sale of Chilevision, together with that of his shares in Las Condes Clinic and LAN airline, signify “the complete and entire fulfillment of the voluntary commitments made by President Piñera with regard to his divestiture of business interests,” the investment fund said.
The sale of the TV channel to Linzor Capital, which has not yet been officially confirmed by Piñera, eliminates the possibility of it going to the Argentine group Clarin, which in recent weeks has shown an interest in buying it.
Chilevision is considered among the best-managed channels on Chilean television and last year showed net profits of some $15 million.
During the campaign leading up to his electoral victory, Piñera promised the divestiture of his businesses if he were elected president.
At the time he won the election last Jan. 17, those business interests included 26 percent of LAN airline and other assets that, according to Forbes magazine, had a total value of some $2.2 billion, double the fortune he had at the beginning of 2009.