ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Seeking a foothold in Latin America's fast-growing cable television market, Tele-Communications Inc. has purchased 51 percent of Cablevision S.A. de Argentina, the biggest cable operation in Buenos Aires.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement gives TCI the option to boost its investment to 80 percent.

TCI, the largest U.S. cable systems operator, made the purchase through TCI International Holdings, one of its four subsidiaries.

``This is a key investment for TCI,'' Fred Vierra, chief executive officer of TCI International, said Tuesday. ``Cable television is well established and accepted by Argentine consumers.''

TCI's other overseas investments include TeleWest, a British telephone and cable venture with phone company U S West Inc. TCI also plans to provide cable TV in Japan.

AP-WS-04-26-95 1233EDT

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.