Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim has admitted that America Movil (AM) may divest Telcel and Telmex assets beyond the eastern coast of Mexico as it pursues an ambitious breakup plan designed to comply with tough new laws. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Slim has clarified that the asset sale is unlikely to be limited to the east coast, and will encompass parts of the business on the west coast and up to the US border. While US-based AT&T Inc is believed to be the front-runner, Slim refused to confirm this notion, simply saying: ‘We are working with the potential buyers to have an agreement.’ Speaking about the tough penalties it could see imposed if it fails to reduce its market share, Slim noted: ‘What you need in business is clear rules.’
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 to below the 50% mark, thus avoiding regulations that apply only to dominant players, and cease being a ‘preponderant economic agent’. Last month it was reported that AM had contacted four potential suitors – AT&T, Softbank Corp of Japan, Bell Canada and China Mobile – with a view to selling Telmex and Telcel assets in a strip of states from north to south, along Mexico’s eastern coast. The package has been valued at USD20 billion.