Argentina’s telecoms regulator the Autoridad de Aplicacion de las Tecnologias de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones (AFTIC) has formally rejected the sale of a 49% stake in Nextel Argentina by US-based NII Holdings to local media conglomerate Grupo Clarin, claiming that the parties had not sought the necessary regulatory approvals prior to announcing the deal. An AFTIC media release claims that the USD178 million transaction violates Article 13 of Law No. 27,078, and warns that if Nextel pursues the deal it could be stripped of its operating licences.
TeleGeography notes that Grupo Clarin has been embroiled in a series of disputes with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who claims that the firm is biased in its coverage of the government. The battle has been ongoing since 2008, when the media group criticised Fernandez’s handling of farmer protests soon after she succeeded her late husband as president.