El Salvador rejects Slim's bid for Telefonica unit; Slim to try again

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SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador’s competition authority has rejected Mexican telecoms firm America Movil’s bid to acquire a local unit of Telefonica, but the company controlled by the family of billionaire Carlos Slim vowed to try again.

In January, Spain’s Telefonica reached a deal to sell operations in Guatemala and El Salvador to America Movil. The Spanish company said the Salvadoran part of the deal had an enterprise value of 277 million euros ($309 million).

In a statement on Tuesday, the Superintendence of Competition (SC) said the bid by America Movil, which is controlled by the Slim family, was “inadmissible” and that the company had been informed of the decision dated April 29.

The competition authority said America Movil had on May 15 signaled that it would exercise its right soon to begin a new attempt to win approval for the Telefonica purchase.

Once America Movil takes that step, the SC would analyze the case put forward, the statement added.

America Movil said in a statement that it would move swiftly to win approval for the deal.

“Although América Móvil does not share the conclusions of the (competition authority), it will soon submit a new request based on the observations made,” the company said.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; additional reporting by Julia Love; editing by Dave Graham and Phil Berlowitz