Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, S.A. de C.V

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Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, S.A. de C.V.

Avenida de las Palmas 1005
Mexico City, D.F. 11000
Telephone: (52) (55) 5201-9000
Fax: (52) (55) 5201-9401
Web site:

Public Company
Incorporated: 1990 as Operadora de Centros de Espectáculos, S.A. de C.V.
Employees: 12,485
Sales: MXN 8.66 billion ($782.97 million) (2005)
Stock Exchanges: Mexico City
Ticker Symbol: CIEB
NAIC: 512110 Motion Picture and Video Production; 541613 Marketing Consulting Services; 551112 Offices of Other Holding Companies; 711212 Race Tracks; 711310 Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities; 711410 Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures; 712130 Zoos and Botanical Gardens; 713110 Amusement and Theme Parks; 713290 Other Gambling Activities; 722213 Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars

Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, S.A. de C.V. (CIE) is a holding company that through its divisions is the leading live show impresario in Latin America. Based in Mexico, CIE presents live entertainment and activities in major Latin American countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, including concerts, theater, and sporting events. It also sells food, beverages, and promotional goods at such events; represents artists; sells tickets through automated reservation systems; and promotes and manages fairs, expositions, amusement parks, sporting venues, and the Buenos Aires zoo. CIE's commercial division is engaged in activities such as sponsoring events outside Mexico, marketing naming rights, and offering telemarketing and advertising services.


Alejandro Soberón Kuri became a movie producer straight out of college, raising money to turn out, with his father, 35 low-budget Mexican adventure and romance movies in the 1980s, before deciding to compete in an entertainment niche that was being little exploited. In 1989 he teamed with Darío de León and Roberto Ayala, the leading promoters/impresarios of the moment, to form Showtime. Showtime's dozen-odd investors, plus Alfredo Vallejo, stayed with him to found Operadora de Centro de Espectáculos, S.A. de C.V. (Ocesa) in Mexico City in 1990, when he was still only 30 years old.

With the support of the U.S. promoter Ogden and Mexico City municipal authorities, Ocesa became the operator of the city's Sports Palace, a venue with 21,000 seats. The civic officials had banned large live shows, except for soccer matches and bullfights, since the early 1970s, when several youngsters died during a concert given by the group Chicago. As late as 1989, they refused to allow Queen and Rod Stewart to appear in the city. Soberón and his backers convinced them that Ocesa could maintain the kind of order found in the United States and Europe. He mounted the first major show of this type in 1991, presenting the Australian group INXS. Ocesa sold 57,000 tickets in three nights. The company promoted it and sold food, beverages, and souvenir merchandise. Ocesa acquired Ticketmaster Corp.'s Mexico license in 1991 to sell tickets using its name and computer system. Ocesa sold almost 100,000 seats during its first year operating Ticketmaster in Mexico.

Once Ogden had fulfilled its role of winning credibility for Ocesa, the two parted by mutual accord. Ocesa established a subsidiary based in New York to lure internationally known performers to Mexico. It joined with the Grupo de Comercialización Integrada, a telemarketing organization, to form the holding company CIE in 1995. They took it public in December 1995, raising MXN 100 million pesos (about $15 million) in the only initial public offering on the Mexico City stock exchange during that recession-gripped year. Some of this money went for the purchase of Reed Exhibition Companies, S.A. de C.V., Mexico's leader in organizing fairs and exhibitions. CIE returned to the stock exchange in 1996, selling stock for MXN 48 million ($6.28 million).

Meanwhile, Ocesa persuaded the Mexico City government to turn over venues that previously had been operated by a government body, Servimet. Over three years the group won control over a dozen sites, among them the 36,000-seat Estadio Azul soccer stadium; the 60,000-seat Foro Sol stadium, also used for baseball; the Rodriguez Brothers Autodrome; the 15,000-seat National Auditorium; and two theaters. CIE also built and began to operate the 23,000-seat Coca-Cola Foundation amphitheater in Monterrey. It had operating control of venues with total seating capacity of 200,000. Between 1991 and 1997 CIE's annual revenues grew from MXN 60 million (about $20 million) to 500 million (about $63 million), and its number of employees from 200 to 2,500.

Between 1993 and 1995 Ocesa brought to Mexico City U.S. touring companies of the musicals Tommy, Man of La Mancha, and Evita, but lost money and concluded that presenting English language theater south of the border was a mistake. CIE, in 1996, obtained a license from Walt Disney Co.'s theatrical production unit to mount Disney productions in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, but in Spanish and Portuguese, not English. The company used funds from its previous stock sale to present, in 1997, the Broadway production of the Disney musical Beauty and the Beast in a Mexico City theater it had bought and renovated. CIE sold 750,000 tickets at $26, and the show ran for more than a year, then moved to Buenos Aires, where it played nine months.

Over the next eight years CIE presented a dozen Broadway musicals in four of the countries in which it maintained a presence. It also presented Disney on Ice and National Football League and National Basketball Association exhibition games. The company was also, sometimes through partnerships with other firms, establishing an advertising presence in sites such as airports, soccer stadiums, and movie theaters.

In 1997 CIE issued MXN 250 million ($31 million) of convertible debentures and MXN 150 million ($19 million) in medium-term notes. That permitted the company to refinance its short-term loans into longer terms at better rates. Also that year, CIE acquired 51 percent of RAC Producciones, S.A. de C.V., a company specializing in Hispanic artists that constituted CIE's only real competition and was run by people close to the Televisa television network. Later in the year CIE acquired 51 percent of the shares of Grupo Mantenimiento de Giros Comerciales International, S.A. de C.V., better known as Grupo Mágico. This group was the Latin American leader in its field, operating five Mexican amusement and theme parks that collectively received seven million visitors a year.


Operadora de Centros de Espectáculos, S.A. de C.V. (Ocesa) is founded.
Ocesa mounts the first major live performance show in Mexico City in almost 20 years.
Ocesa becomes the holding company Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, S.A. de C.V. (CIE) and goes public.
CIE wins concessions to run Mexico's only horse racing track and operate betting parlors.
More than 15 million people attend events organized by some of CIE's 14 subsidiaries.
CIE has, over eight years, presented a dozen Broadway musicals in four Hispanic countries.
In all, about 22 million people attend 4,290 events and other CIE-produced attractions.

At this point, CIE was vertically organized throughout the commercial cycle, from market research into what the public wanted and the signing of performers to onsite advertising and the sale of tickets and food, drink, and souvenirs on the premises. There were 12 companies within CIE. Soberón told Valdemar de Icaza of the Mexican business magazine Expansión, "For the average promoter, the operating margin is about 8 percent. But we need a global margin of more than 40 percent and we can only obtain it when we include other types of revenue." He denied that CIE was a monopoly and maintained that it held less than 25 percent of its market.


CIE, in 1998, purchased the rest of RAC and took 70 percent of CIE R&P, S.A., a new partnership with Daniel Grinbank, founder of the Buenos Aires-based promotion firm Rock & Pop International, which dominated live performance in Argentina and Chile. Grinbank became chief executive of the joint venture, which included two radio stations, one of them the top rated FM rock station in Buenos Aires. Between 1997 and 1999 CIE and CIE-R&P also acquired full control of the company responsible for managing the city's Teatro Ópera and operating its zoo. CIE, through Ocesa Presents, booked the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan into Brazil for concerts in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in 1998. In all, its sponsorship of the Rolling Stones in Mexico and Argentina as well as Brazil brought in an estimated $14 million. In 2000 CIE-R&P presented Les Miserables, and in 2001, Chicago, in Buenos Aires. Eventually the two promoters fell out, with Grinbank accusing Soberón of skimming cash and sending it to Panama. CIE purchased Grinback's share in the joint venture the following year.

Also in 1998, CIE obtained from the Mexican government a 25-year concession, renewable for the same period, to operate the bankrupt Hípodromo de las Américas racetrack in Mexico City, Mexico's only horse racing track, and a similar concession to run 45 sports betting parlors and also what were apparently bingo parlors. The track, closed for five years, reopened in 2000. Still another concession gave it the right to develop the area around the racetrack for fairs, expositions, a children's theme park, and a hotel, and it built a $350 million exhibition hall that included a 400-room conference center. Grupo Mágico, in 1999, partnered in winning the right to establish a Colombian amusement park in the nation's capital, Bogotá. The company subsequently won the concession to operate the amusement park in Mexico City's Chapultepec Park, initiated the operation of new parks in Mexico City, and also established Wannado City, a theme park for children outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that opened in 2004. To finance its activities, CIE obtained $32.6 million in 1999 from bank loans and stock sales and another $70.8 million in capital markets. Its stock shares had multiplied 17 times in value since the first issue.

Also in 1999, CIE entered Spain by presenting Beauty and the Beast in Madrid and Rent in Barcelona. The company's activities in Spain ended at the close of 2004 because of high costs.

By 2000, CIE's roster included 14 subsidiaries, including Estudio México Films (founded in 1999 in association with the venture capital arm of Grupo Financiero Inbursa, S.A. de C.V.), Remex (for fairs and expositions), Sitel (marketing by telephone), and Teleservicios Valor Agregado (added-value telecommunications services). CIE, as the promoter, received 10 percent of the box office take for a performance and another 12 percent to cover the rent. It also received 35 percent of supplementary revenue. In 2000, more than 15 million people attended events organized by CIE, 50 percent more than in 1999. The company's annual sales were in the neighborhood of $400 million, a 35 percent increase over the previous year, and it employed 8,000 people.

There seemed to be no stopping the CIE juggernaut. The company presented Rent in Rio de Janeiro in December 1999, its first stage production in Brazil. It also took a 30 percent stake in Stage Empreendimentos, S.A., the largest operator of show stages in Brazil, increased its share to 70 percent in 2000, then bought the remaining shares in 2001, when it won the right to operate 6,500-seat Claro Hall in Rio de Janeiro. In 2000, it took a majority stake in Latin Entertainment, Inc., the holder of two Internet portals. In this last transaction it again had as partner Grupo Financiero Inbursa, which contributed $50 million for the development of the portals. Inbursa also collaborated with CIE in the reopening of Hípodromo de las Américas. Estudio México Films scored a hit in 2000 with the film Amores Perros. The studio's distribution arm, Nuvision, grossed more than $90 million in two years.

The news was not so good in Argentina. CIE received 14 percent of its 2000 sales in Argentina, but this dropped to 7 percent or less in 2001 because of the severe economic crisis there. Yet the company was the leader in FM radio and had seven stations in all. It also controlled the nation's Ticketmaster, and it operated and administered two sports stadiums as well as the zoo and the opera theater.

CIE obtained fresh funds in 2002, when a subsidiary of Televisa, the largest Spanish language media company in the world, paid $107 million for a 40 percent stake in a CIE subsidiary newly formed in order to produce major concerts and stage shows. The agreement also gave CIE access to Televisa's promotional and distribution network, while Televisa had the capacity to transmit CIE's live events through its over-the-air and pay-TV channels. CIE was also moving, with Forsythe Racing Inc., to establish auto racing tracks in Mexico and sponsor the Champ Car World Series in Mexico City between 2002 and 2006. The company refurbished the dilapidated Rodriguez Brothers autodrome for this purpose.

CIE IN 200506

In 2003, 2004, and 2005, CIE concentrated on expanding its betting parlors, constructing facilities on the property around the Hipódromo racetrack, and building the Wannado City theme park. By 2006 CIE was producing its own musicals, such as Selena: The Musical, based on the life of the Latina singer; Bésame mucho, based on Mexican bolero tunes; and another one based on the music of the Spanish rock band Mecano. All were playing in Mexico City in 2006. In a resurgent Argentina, CIE's nine radio stations had a larger audience share than any other company.

About 8.2 million people attended the 4,290 events that CIE promoted and produced in 2005. Many of the musical shows featured Anglo-American performers such as the Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, Sting, Pink Floyd, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Others were Broadway-type musicals such as Cabaret. Family productions and specials included Cirque du Soleil, David Copperfield, Holiday on Ice, and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus. Sporting events besides auto racing, football, basketball, and soccer, included Davis Cup matches, big league baseball exhibitions, and beach volleyball. Cultural and popular events included the Three Tenors, Mexico City's Ballet Folklórico, popular fairs in Pachuca and Texcoco, and the annual Cervantes festival in Guanajuato. CIE also was staging its own annual rock festival, "Vive Latino," in Mexico City. In addition, about 6.3 million people attended the amusement parks that CIE operated and the Buenos Aires zoo. An estimated 401,000 visitors attended the 1,356 horse races at Mexico City's Hipódromo, and the company's betting activities drew an estimated 7.3 million participants.

Unlike most Latin American companies, even public ones, CIE was not closely held by a ruling family. At the end of 2005, Soberón held only 10.5 percent of the shares in his own name (although he may have controlled a capital fund that held another 8.4 percent of the shares). Seventy-six percent of the stock was owned by public investors. Total debt at the end of the year was MXN 6.36 billion (about $582 million).

Robert Halasz


Administradora Mexicana de Hipódromo, S.A. de C.V.; CIE International, S.A. de C.V.; Grupo Automovilístico Nacional y Deportivo, S. de R.L. de C.V. (50.01%); Grupo Mantenimiento de Giros Comerciales Internacional, S.A. de C.V. (50%); Grupo Mundo, S.A. de C.V.; Grupo Sitel de México, S.A. de C.V. (50%); Latin Entertainment, Inc. (62%); Make Pro, S.A. de C.V.; Ocesa Entretenimiento, S.A. de C.V. (60%); Publitop, S.A. de C.V. (75%); Unimarket, S.A. de C.V.; Ventas de Boletos por Computadora, S.A. de C.V. (67%).


Americas; Amusement Parks; Commercial; Entertainment; International.


Feld Entertainment, Inc.; Grupo Televisa, S.A.; IMG; Live Nation, Inc.;, Inc.


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Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, S.A. de C.V

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