Govt halts Cablevision-Multicanal merger

8 Mar 2010

The government of Argentina has issued a resolution to stop the merger of cable operators Multicanal and Cablevision, BNamericas reports, citing local paper El Cronista. On 4 March economy minister Amado Boudou passed Resolution 113, which 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). The two companies have been given six months to fulfill the resolution, which also orders Cablevision to present a monthly report on the process to the CNDC. As reported by CommsUpdate, the government issued a resolution temporarily suspending the proposed merger in December 2009, stating 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 in December 2007 during former president Nestor Kirchner’s administration. In September 2009 federal broadcasting committee Comfer blocked the merger on the grounds that Cablevision already held more licences than allowed by local regulations. The same month, the CNDC issued a resolution to freeze the assets of Cablevision, but shortly after 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