AOL Latin America Plans IPO

One might be forgiven for thinking that

raising money is a low priority at America Online Inc. (AOL) subsidiaries and

joint ventures in the wake of their parent company's US$350 billion proposed

merger with Time Warner Inc.

Yet, AOL's Latin America joint venture with the Cisneros Group of Companies is planning to file an IPO (initial public offering) to raise money to, among other matters, expand the venture's Internet-related services and strengthen its network capacity, an AOL official said today.

The money could also be used for either buying or investing in "complementary businesses, products or technologies" and for covering capital expenditures, said Kirsten Powers, AOL's director of international communications.

America Online Latin America Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue up to $575 million of Class A common stock, the company announced yesterday.

Now, the SEC has 30 days to review the company's prospectus and make comments.

After that process, the firm can respond to the SEC's comments and then go public, Powers said.

AOL Latin America was founded in December 1998 to launch AOL's proprietary online service throughout the region and to operate country-specific portals in Latin America. The company launched AOL's service in Brazil, as well as a Brazilian Web portal, last year. It plans to do the same in México and Argentina this year, Powers said.

Asked what effect the planned AOL-Time Warner merger will have on AOL Latin America, Powers said it's still too early to tell, although the company is "excited about the possibilities."

A copy of the prospectus can be obtained by calling Salomon Smith Barney Inc. at +1-718-765-6732, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette at +1-212-892-4525 or Lehman Brothers Inc. at +1-516-254-7106. These three companies are acting as offering underwriters for the IPO.

AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at http://www.aol.com/. The Cisneros Group of Companies, in Caracas, Venezuela, can be reached at http://www.cisneros.com/.

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