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3i takes the plunge with debut Brazil investment

UK-listed 3i Group has dipped its toe into Brazil for the first time since opening a São Paulo office in April, acquiring a minority stake in a cable TV operator Blue Interactive Group.

3i has paid R$100 million ($55 million ; €41million) for a minority stake in Brazilian cable TV and broadband provider Blue Interactive Group (BIG), its first investment in the country. The deal was funded using capital from 3i’s balance sheet according to a spokeswoman, as the group has yet to raise a specific Latin American fund.

BIG was created in 2009 as an acquisition platform with which to consolidate Brazil’s rapidly growing TV and broadband market, and has since become the largest independent cable provider in the country, according to 3i. 

3i said it would help the company achieve its growth plans by providing capital and applying its expertise in both the telecoms sector and M&A. Richard Alden, who becomes chairman of BIG, was also sourced through 3i’s ‘business leader network’, having previously served as chief executive of Spanish cable operator ONO.

3i officially opened its first office in Brazil in April, appointing Marcelo Di Lorenzo to lead the São Paulo-based operation. Di Lorenzo joined the group from Standard Bank’s private equity unit. His team includes three other former Standard Bank professionals: Edward Hanmer, Felipe Vivacqua and Carlos Lopes.