Succession to the Venezuelan empire shifts telenovelas to satellites | World | Venezuela | Companies | Investment | Latin America | Satellites | the world

The Cisneros Group, which owns properties ranging from the wildly popular Miss Venezuela pageant to a luxury hotel complex in the Dominican Republic, is expanding with an investment from fellow Venezuelan-founded AST Spacemobile Inc., a company that aims to provide a cellular network. Space-based broadband From its proprietary satellite technology, it will extend telecommunications services to rural areas of the world.

So far, the experience has been bumpy: AST is almost lost 70% Value from going public as a blank check company in 2021, including declines 17% On Tuesday. But Cisneros is confident the investment will pay off.

He led Texas-based AST SpaceMobile’s Series A round of $10 million in seed investment, along with Vodafone Group Plc, Rakuten Group Inc. and helped attract big-name sponsors including American Tower. The company launched its first satellite in September and signed deals with the world’s leading telecom companies. Cisneros has a role 4.7% The company is worth about $38 million.

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“If AST works, it will be bigger than anything I, we, Cisneros have touched.”he said in a recent interview from the group’s headquarters in Miami.

In the second half of the 20th century, the Cisneros family was one of the most powerful and richest in Latin America from its base in Venezuela. The small goods transportation business started by Adriana’s grandfather, Diego Cisneros, grew into a giant holding company representing such well-known American brands as Pepsi, Studebaker Automobiles, and the owners of Pizza Hut.

Her 78-year-old father, Gustavo, now retired, turned the Cisneros Group into a media powerhouse with the Venevisian Network, which produced and broadcast soap operas and other shows around the world, including the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant. Due to the increasing political turmoil in Venezuela in the late 1990s and the need to honor contracts to produce hundreds of hours of content, he moved the company and his family to Miami, a smart move given the volatility that followed the election of Hugo Chávez.

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Cisneros helped build the Spanish-language television network Univision before it was sold at a profit in 2007. The group bought a stake in satellite TV provider DirecTV. This investment allowed Adriana to see satellite output broadcast across cable television. Latin America-, he sold at the same time.

As Adriana Cisneros enters her second decade at the helm of the group, she says the spirit that inspired her grandfather and father to build and sell companies lives on.


Although Venivision still produces news and competes for rights to live sports in Venezuela, it no longer makes big-budget telenovelas and its entire staff has been cut. 80%, up to 600 employees. However, investment has picked up recently as advertisers are coming back after a difficult decade.

Many Latin American family businesses struggle to outlast the third generation, but theirs “too opportunistic” Confirm.

“Decades later, we identify trends, geographies and industries that interest us, dive into them, exit, continue or stay with some”Cisneros explained.

Taking on the role in 2013, he built a digital ad sales business in Latin America, Meta Platforms Inc. grew to $500 million in annual revenue in conjunction with In 2021, he sold it to Entravision.

He recently bought a stock with part of the proceeds 25% At The Electric Factory, the Uruguay-based startup uses initiatives in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and metaverse to develop technology strategies for companies.

“I’m going to focus on trying to turn that business into a truly global player.”He said.

Miss Venezuela

Cisneros currently works with AST, Electric Factory and Mattel Inc. sits on the board, after receiving an invitation from Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the toy company, which is enjoying the success of the recent Barbie movie.

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Some of the lessons from Barbie’s success apply to Grupo Cisneros’ strategies around the Miss Venezuela business, he said.

Miss Venezuela is like the Super Bowl for Venezuelans. It will no longer be a one-night event, but will span six months with content attracting high-grossing competitors and big brands.

A Venivision Super Application will soon be launched to extend the offer not only to Venezuelans living in the country, but also to the nearly 8 million people who have left in recent decades. Miss Venezuela will be a key part of the offering, and advertising will be sold wherever viewers watch the show.

“Nowadays there is a large global community of Venezuelans in all major cities and they want to feel connected to their country”, said. “Starting to reinvest in our TV network in Venezuela is a very interesting cross-platform mega experience because our audience is now global.”

(Photo: Bloomberg)

(Photo: Bloomberg)

Dominican Resort

Cisneros Group does not release financial information and declined to comment on annual revenue figures. The company has 800 full-time employees and offices in Miami, New York, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Spain.

In addition to media and start-up investments, the family is developing a US$200 million real estate project in the Dominican Republic, with acquisitions northwest of Punta Cana over the past 35 years.

Tropicalia, as the project is known, will offer 5 kilometers of beach, a five-star hotel, private residences and a golf course. Although it may take 50 years to fully develop the land, construction is already underway.

Back in Miami, the walls of the Grupo Cisneros headquarters in the heart of the city are decorated with works of art from the family collection. Adriana’s mother, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, is a notable collector of contemporary Latin American art and has donated hundreds of pieces to museums including the MoMA in New York and the Reina Sofia in Madrid.

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Adriana, the youngest of three siblings, says the conversation with her father to take over the business lasted about four years. His brother and sister were not involved. In case there is any doubt as to who the boss is, there is a small plaque on his desk “Boss”.

“We’ve sold all the businesses people thought we’d never sell”Dice. “Now we’ll do it again.”

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