RealTime IT News

Starmedia Network Scores $80 Million Financing

Latin American online network StarMedia Network Inc. today completed an $80 million private equity placement, bringing the network's total capital to $96.1 million.

According to VentureOne Corp., Monday's announcement is the biggest single equity transaction conducted by a private new media company. JP Morgan & Co. and Chase Securities, Inc. are StarMedia's financial advisors and placement agents on the convertible preferred stock transaction.

StarMedia, which earns revenues primarily through advertising and electronic commerce, said it plans to use the financing proceeds to significantly grow branding and audience acquisition programs, open more offices, increase its sales force and accelerate product development.

StarMedia has entered into a number of marketing agreements recently, including one with Cyberian Outpost Inc. in early August, and worldwide telecomm carrier Teleglobe in July.

In June, StarMedia signed a two-year, $2 million marketing and distribution agreement with Netscape Communications Corp. to offer a free, Latin American Internet guide, "Netscape Guide by StarMedia," to appear in Portuguese and Spanish. And in May, StarMedia announced it tapped Ogilvy & Mather, Miami, to create a pan-regional prime time television and print advertising campaign and said it planned to spend over $21 million in 1998 to further brand awareness.

"StarMedia is the largest, and now, the best-financed Internet company focused solely on building a global network for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audiences," said Fernando Espuelas, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of StarMedia.

"We are very pleased with the strong demand for this latest financing," said Jack Chen, president and co-founder of StarMedia. "Interest was fueled by the rapid growth of the Latin American technology sector, where, according to IDC, server sales, PC penetration, and growth in Internet access is projected to outpace any other region in the world through the year 2000. By that time, according to Saatchi & Saatchi, 34 million Latin Americans will be online."