Govt passes resolution suspending Multicanal-Cablevision merger

18 Dec 2009

The government of Argentina has issued a resolution temporarily suspending the proposed merger between cable operators Multicanal and Cablevision, BNamericas reports citing local press. The resolution states that Cablevision had failed to meet committed investments, including the deployment of fibre-optic infrastructure and the provision of free services to schools, when the merger was approved. It orders Cablevision to cease the effects of the previously authorised merger, based on a recommendation from the country’s antitrust agency, the National Commission for the Defence of Competition (CNDC). In response, Cablevision has presented a document claiming that it had made all of the requisite investments, and the operator has stated that the decision has no legal standing and is not legitimate. The cableco plans to take the matter to the courts.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the government first approved the merger in December 2007 during former president Nestor Kirchner’s administration. However, in September 2009 federal broadcasting committee Comfer blocked the merger on the grounds that Cablevision already held more licences than allowed by local regulations. A few days later, the CNDC issued a resolution to freeze the assets of Cablevision, but towards the end of the month a court annulled the ruling filed by Comfer which vetoed the merger. Cablevision is controlled by local media giant Grupo Clarin, which is embroiled in a dispute with President Cristina Fernandez and her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, after the media company openly criticised the current administration.

Argentina, Cablevision (FiberTel), Multicanal Argentina