Mexico’s antitrust authority, the Comision Federal de Competencia (Cofeco), is reported to have rejected the proposed acquisition of a 50% stake in mobile operator Iusacell by local broadcast giant Grupo Televisa. According to the Wall Street Journal, which cites a person close to the transaction speaking on condition of anonymity, Cofeco’s five board members voted three-to-two in favour of rejecting the tie-up, but no further details regarding the judgement have been forthcoming. Earlier this week Cofeco confirmed that it had reached a decision in the matter, but the watchdog’s board members are prohibited from making the findings public until after it has formally notified the parties involved.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April 2011 Televisa announced that it had agreed to acquire a 50% stake in Iusacell; the media giant said it would pay around USD1.6 billion for the stake, subject to receiving regulatory approval for the deal, with USD1.57 billion paid for debt convertible into Iusacell equity in addition to a direct cash payment of USD37.5 million. Further ahead, Televisa has also agreed to pay an additional USD400 million to Iusacell shareholders if the cellco’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBTIDA) reach a cumulative USD3.47 billion between January 2011 and December 2015. While the proposed tie-up was expected to benefit Televisa by providing it access to mobile voice services that it would be able to add to its existing triple-play bundles, Iusacell for its part would have likely benefited from the funding, having filed for a pre-arranged bankruptcy in December 2010.