Could Digitel be an América Móvil target?

9 May 2005

América Móvil, the Latin American mobile group controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, is rumoured to be weighing up a bid for Venezuelan cellco Digitel, after an attempted takeover by the country’s PTO was blocked at the last minute. Last November CANTV agreed a USD450 million deal to purchase Digitel, wholly owned by Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), and merge it with its own wireless unit Movilnet. Venezuelan regulator Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) rejected CANTV’s proposal over fears for competition in the market; the merged company would have gained control of around half the market and effectively reduced the sector to a two-way battle between itself and Telefónica Móviles subsidiary Telcel. Local analysts have been putting two-and-two together after TIM said it still intends to dispose of Digitel and América Móvil revealed it is mulling entering the country, one of the few LatAm nations where it does not have a presence.

Venezuela, America Movil (AM), CANTV, Digitel