MEXICO CITY, April 4 Mexico's top broadcaster
Televisa (TV.N) is in advanced negotiations over a possible
tie-up with Grupo Salinas' cell phone operator Iusacell, a
local newspaper columnist wrote on Monday.
Televisa wants to buy a large chunk of Iusacell's
outstanding debt -- currently held by secretive Mexican
financier David Martinez --- according to columnist Alberto
Aguilar from daily El Universal.
Martinez -- who U.S. media identified as the buyer of a $54
million penthouse at the Time Warner building in Manhattan --
owns investment fund Fintech Advisory and holds at least $200
million of Iusacell debt, Aguilar said without mentioning
"There is nothing to this regard," a Televisa spokesman
told Reuters when asked about the El Universal column. He
declined to comment further.
Iusacell, currently under creditor protection, and Mexico's
No. 2 broadcaster TV Azteca, are part of Grupo Salinas, owned
by entrepreneur Ricardo Salinas, one of the country's
wealthiest men with a fortune estimated at more than $8
billion, according to Forbes.
A Iusacell CEL.MX official could not immediately be
reached for a comment.
Televisa and TV Azteca (AZTECACPO.MX) are embroiled in a
dispute with companies controlled by tycoon Carlos Slim, who
controls telephone network Telmex TELMEXL.MX and cell phone
network America Movil (AMXL.MX) (AMX.N).
Slim wants to expand into television in Mexico so his
companies can offer so-called triple-play packages. In Mexico
the government has so far refused permission for the world's
richest man to expand into media, due to competition concerns.
Grupo Televisa (TLVACPO.MX) has broadcast, cable,
satellite, publishing, and gaming businesses and is the main
content provider for U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster
Televisa ended in 2010 a partnership with NII Holdings
Inc's (NIHD.O) Nextel Mexico, leaving it with no partner to
enter the mobile phone market in the country. [ID:nN18191168]
(Reporting by Elinor Comlay, additional reporting by Cyntia
Barrera Diaz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)