America Movil enlists Bank of America to sell surplus assets; AT&T, Softbank linked with bids

1 Sep 2014

America Movil (AM), the international telecoms group controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, has hired Bank of America Corp to sell certain domestic telecoms, Bloomberg reports. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Slim is ready to sell off parts of his Mexican telecoms business in an effort to cut his company’s market share across the sector below the 50% mark, thus avoiding regulations that apply only to dominant players, and cease being a ‘preponderant economic agent’.

According to people familiar with the matter, potential buyers include US telecoms giant AT&T Inc and Softbank Corp of Japan. The latter sold bonds worth JPY400 billion (USD3.9 billion) last week – its first such sale since it abandoned its long-running plan to merge US unit Sprint Corp with T-Mobile US over regulatory concerns – prompting fresh speculation over its future acquisition plans.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as of 31 March 2014 AM subsidiary Telcel controlled 70.6% of the Mexican mobile market, while sister company Telmex occupied 64.2% of the broadband segment and around 59.9% of the wireline sector. As such, if a newcomer strikes a deal to buy AM’s surplus operations, it will start life with a 20.6% mobile market share, a 14.2% slice of the broadband segment and 19.9% of the fixed line market – automatically making it the second largest operator in each of those markets. Industry insiders have estimated the spun-off assets to be worth in the region of USD10 billion.