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France First for Goldman-Backed Net

A proposed Afro-Caribbean lifestyle cable channel for the United States --
backed in part by investment house The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- is taking the
trial path overseas first.

The channel -- based on Trace, a six-year-old lifestyle publication --
launched April 26 on cable systems throughout France reaching some 6 million

Word of the network's existence and launch, however, was released Thursday
morning by Richard Roberts, president of Goldman's urban investment fund, during
his appearance at Horowitz Associates Inc.'s annual "State of Cable &
Broadband" forum in New York.

Goldman's fund contributed $6 million to the channel's operation for a major
equity share of its parent firm, Alliance Trace Media. Groupe Lagadère, one of
Europe's largest media companies, also has an equity stake.

Roberts said the Trace venture was one of the few cable projects his fund has
considered so far that met three criteria: adequate funding in hand,
financial-investor-friendly operation terms and realistic assessment of lining
up distribution.

Music-video and culture short subjects account for the majority of the
channel's content.

"It met what needed to be met for us to get into the market," Roberts said,
adding that a few cable operators have inquired about when the service will be
available stateside.

Goldman's urban fund has earmarked more than $90 million into an assortment
of urban businesses, including media, and it has another $60 million worth of
deals in its pipeline.