Clarin presents asset divestment plan

6 Nov 2013

Argentina media giant Clarin has presented a plan to the government outlining the division of its assets into six different companies, in a bid to comply with the country’s media law, the Buenos Aires Herald reports. The move follows a ruling by the Supreme Court last week that key parts of the controversial legislation are constitutional, meaning that Clarin, which owns local cableco Cablevision, broadband provider FiberTel and a number of TV channels, would be forced to divest some of its multimedia assets that exceed licence limits. ‘This is a decision forced on us by circumstances,’ Clarin Group Communications Manager Martin Etchevers is quoted as saying. ‘This adjustment plan does not imply we will abandon our principles or fail to defend our rights.’ Under its plan to voluntary adjust to the licence regime of the media law, Clarin is proposing to divide itself into six separate companies, each of which would comply with the limits imposed by the legislation. Broadcasting watchdog AFSCA will now study Clarin’s presentation and decide whether or not to approve the proposal.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that in December 2009 Clarin won a three-year court suspension of a number of articles of the Audiovisual Communication Law, which was passed earlier that year and states that companies exceeding licence limits set forth by the law must sell off assets. The precautionary measure was due to mature on 7 December 2012, and from that date the government said it planned to auction off Clarin’s licences that exceed legal limits (158 TV licences, one for each of the cities in which it offers cable and internet, and 134 more than the 24 allowed). In December 2012 Clarin, which has been accused by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of biased reporting against her administration, won a temporary extension of the injunction, but last week the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the media law.

Argentina, Cablevision (FiberTel)