Brazil's UOL Raises US $100 Million for Expansion Efforts
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Leading Brazilian Internet player Universo Online (UOL) has landed US$100 million in a private equity placement from a group of investors led by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Private Equity.
The company will use the funds to expand its presence within Brazil and to expand UOL's operations throughout Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market.
"UOL is today the largest Internet operation in Latin America regardless of the measure used: subscribers, unique visitors, page views, share of audience in chat rooms, advertising or e-commerce revenues," said Luís Frias, chairman and CEO of UOL. "Now we will be concentrating even further on our Spanish portal strategy and in continuing to build the most solid Internet business in Latin America."
UOL is launching its international venture, with headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this month. The company intends to rollout its operations in Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela by early next year.
The investor group also includes significant commitments by Blackstone Capital Partners III and Providence Equity Partners Inc. Other investors include Credit Suisse First Boston Garantia Private Equity funds, DB Capital Partners Latin America, Hambrecht & Quist, Latinvest Asset Management and Reuters Group PLC.
UOL is the leading portal and ISP in Brazil with 1.3 billion page views for the second quarter, and nearly half a million subscribers from 106 cities. Approximately 80 percent of Brazilian Internet users visit UOL's site monthly, and more than 30 percent of Brazil's Internet users rely on UOL as an ISP.