Govt appeals freeze of Telecom Argentina sale ruling

22 Jan 2010

Argentina’s antitrust agency, the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNDC), has appealed a lower court ruling that suspended a timeline set by the government by which Telecom Italia (TI) had been ordered to sell its 50% stake in Sofora, the holding company that controls fixed line incumbent Telecom Argentina, BNamericas reports citing local daily La Nacion. Earlier this month, TI appealed a decision by the Argentine government ordering it to begin the sale process before 25 February 2010 or face intervention in the process, and completely sell the stake by 25 August 2010. The court sided with TI and suspended the deadlines until it can be determined if Telefonica of Spain’s shareholding in TI affects competition in the local market. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the CNDC ruled in August 2009 that TI’s indirect stake in Telecom Argentina violated antitrust legislation and ordered the company to sell the 50% shareholding, as Telefonica, which acquired a 24.7% stake in the Italian firm through the Telco consortium in October 2007, already owns Argentina’s other fixed line operator Telefonica de Argentina, causing cross-ownership issues.