Grupo Televisa, Mexico’s largest broadcaster, has agreed to buy long-distance telephony provider Bestel for USD325 million. Televisa affiliate Cablestar will pay USD256 million for a controlling stake in the company, and will invest a furher USD69 million into Bestel. Cablestar is 70% owned by Televisa’s cable arm Cablevision. Cablevision began selling triple-play services to customers in Mexico City in July after regulators relaxed laws that had barred cable companies from the telephone industry.
Bestel offers long-distance and data services to carriers over an 8,000km fibre-optic network that covers most of Mexico as well as parts of Texas and California. The company has four fibre-optic border links that provide access to Dallas, San Antonio, San Diego and four other US cities. It also has an interconnect agreement with Telmex.
In July Televisa obtained conditional approval to buy a 49% stake of Cablemas, Mexico’s second- largest cable company; the deal is expected to close in November. In February, it received conditional approval to buy a 50% stake of Television Internacional, a small cable operator in Monterrey. To meet regulatory conditions, Televisa must offer its programming to rival cable companies.