Anatel drops Telefonica / Telecom Italia discussion from meeting

31 Aug 2007

The review of Spanish Telefonica’s purchase of a stake in Telecom Italia was dropped from the meeting agenda of Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel on Thursday, according to BNamericas, citing the regulator’s website. Anatel also dropped from the meeting the re-assessment of Telefonica’s acquisition of local pay TV company TVA, which the watchdog approved in July with certain restrictions. Anatel must approve the Telefonica / Telecom Italia deal as Telefonica has joint control of Brazil’s largest mobile phone company Vivo while Telecom Italia controls the second largest, TIM Brasil. The discussion was delayed because third placed operator, Claro, owned by Mexican mobile group America Movil (AM), asked the regulator to examine further documents on the case, said the Radiocor newswire, quoting unidentified sources. Telefonica and AM, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, have been vying for dominance in Latin America’s largest market. Telefónica also recently beat AM to another acquisition in Brazil; Vivo acquired in early August two small mobile operators, Telemig Celular Participacoes and Tele Norte Celular Participacoes (Amazonia Celular), which were also being eyed by Slim. The discussion of Telefónica’s acquisition of TVA was also withdrawn for ‘further analysis,’ Anatel board member Antonio Bedran was quoted as saying by local press. Renan Calheiros, president of the senate, a vocal critic of the TVA purchase, has accused Anatel of trying to approve ‘an illegality.’ In May, Anatel approved Brazil’s largest pay TV provider Net Servicos’ acquisition of local pay TV operator Vivax.