Return of the Big Spenders
Signs of recovery in Brazil are luring deep-pocketed
European investors back to the region, ready to splurge
billions on Latin American companies.
In the space of a few weeks in
March, buttoned-down, sober businessmen like John Brock, the
American who runs Belgium's Interbrew beer company, and
César Alierta, president of Spanish telecom giant
Telefónica, offered billions of dollars to buy companies
in Latin America, a region most multinationals had avoided for
Global companies, led by big European groups like Interbrew
and Telefónica, are taking over competitors in Latin
America or raising majority stakes in subsidiaries there in the
most significant burst of foreign direct investment the region
has seen in years. Belgium's Interbrew, advised by Goldman
Sachs and Lazard, is offering $4.1 billion in stock for a
controlling 21.8% stake in AmBev (see "The Killer Instinct").
Spain's Telefónica, advised by Morgan Stanley, coughed
up $5.85 billion for BellSouth's Latin American business (see
box, "A Bigger Footprint"). BBVA, Spain's second-largest bank,
bought out minority investors in its...
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