May 29 Mexico's chief telecom regulator welcomed
broadcaster Televisa's $1.6 billion bid for half of
cell phone company Iusacell, but said the companies must address
concerns about advertising and content before the competition
watchdog clears the deal.
"I think it would allow two operators to become a stronger
telecommunications operator and offer better, more affordable
services to customers," Cofetel head Mony de Swaan said in an
interview with newspaper Reforma published on Tuesday.
In February, Mexico antitrust watchdog Cofeco blocked the
bid, a move by two television moguls to challenge Carlos Slim's
dominance of the country's mobile phone market.
Televisa and Iusacell filed an appeal against the decision
by Cofeco, whose board is expected to schedule its final vote on
the deal for next week.
Cofetel has no say in the final decision because it is a
separate agency from Cofeco.
Cofeco rejected the transaction in a 3-2 vote, but said it
could reconsider its decision if the companies pledged not to
jointly exploit the television advertising market.
The agency said the deal between the two companies would
create a strong incentive for them to fix advertising prices.
Controlled by Emilio Azcarraga, Televisa is the leading
producer of Spanish-language content worldwide. Iusacell is in
the hands of Ricardo Salinas, who owns No. 2 Mexican broadcaster
Both Televisa and Iusacell requested a review of the ruling,
a standard procedure for such decisions.
Slim, the world richest man, controls around 80 percent of
the fixed-line phones in Mexico, while his mobile company,
America Movil, has a market share of under 70 percent.
Televisa and Iusacell were not immediately available for