Santander Buys Stake in Patagon.com for $525M

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (03/10/2000) - Spanish bank Banco Santander Central Hispano plans to buy a 75 percent controlling stake in Patagon.com International Ltd., a financial portal aimed primarily at Latin Americans, the companies announced yesterday.

The Spanish bank said in a statement that it valued Patagon.com at US$705 million, which would put the 75 percent stake at $525 million, although this figure was not specified in the statement. Calls seeking comment weren't immediately returned.

Patagon.com's founders and top executives, including company chairman and CEO Wenceslao Casares, will retain control of the remaining 25 percent.

Acquiring Patagon.com is the first step in the bank's expansion in the telecommunications and Internet markets, the companies said.

The Miami-based Patagon.com has country-specific portals for Venezuela, Brazil, México, Chile, Argentina and Spain.

Patagon.com is privately held and closed a financing round with over $50 million in December 1999.

Patagon.com can be reached at 1-305-534-3400 or at http://www.patagon.com/.

Banco Santander Central Hispano, in Madrid, can be reached at http://www.bancosantander.es/.

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