WarnerMedia has agreed to purchase the minority stake in joint venture HBO Ole Partners, which is held by its partner Ole Communications, it was announced in a press release on Friday.
The transaction is expected to be completed following the granting of relevant regulatory approvals. Upon completion, HBO Ole Partners will fall under the purview of Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer at WarnerMedia and president of WarnerMedia International Networks.
Once completed, the transaction will result in WarnerMedia having full control of all HBO, MAX, Cinemax and HBO Go services in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean. However, the share structure of HBO Brasil Partners, another joint venture between the two companies which operates HBO in Brazil, will remain unchanged.
According to Zeiler, WarnerMedia is excited about the prospect of owning HBO Ole Partners, which, he said “operates one of the leading premium, subscription-based television networks in the region.
“The acquisition will allow us to bring localised versions of our upcoming US streaming service HBO Max to consumers in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean,” he added.
The president explained, however, that despite an “option to acquire” HBO Brasil Partners, WarnerMedia did not consider the move worthwhile “at this time”.
“As we have said, additional, direct investment in Brazil is not currently attractive to us because of the existing regulatory uncertainty in the country. We support and remain optimistic about the ongoing efforts to amend the SeAC law to ensure the media industry has a clear and predictable regulatory framework that fosters investment and innovation,” Zeiler elaborated.
In the meantime, WarnerMedia and Ole Communications will continue their basic channel distribution business in Latin America, according to the release.
WarnerMedia and Ole Communications brought HBO programming services to the region for the first time when they founded the HBO Ole Partners joint venture in 1991 and launched a Spanish-language HBO-branded premium channel that same year. In 1994, a Portuguese-language service was launched in Brazil.
According to Enrique Cusco, president and CEO of Ole Communications, “WarnerMedia has been a great partner in Latin America and we are proud to have built the HBO-branded networks in the region together.”
“We are pleased that we will continue the business of distributing our great portfolio of basic channels in the market, a portfolio that includes Warner Channel and the channels of A+E Networks Latin America, NBCUniversal International Networks Spanish Latin America and Sony Pictures Entertainment,” he added.