Media News - Friday, June 15, 2012
In a highly controversial decision, Mexico's antitrust regulator on Thursday conditionally approved a joint telecom venture between media giant Televisa and rival network TV Azteca's sister company Iusacell. Televisa agreed in April 2011 to purchase a 50 percent stake in cell phone company Iusacell for USD 1.6bn, which would mark Televisa's first foray into the wireless telephone business. But the Federal Competition Commission (CFC) halted the deal because of price-fixing concerns. The watchdog expressed concern that the tie-up could generate collusion between networks Televisa and TV Azteca in the setting of advertising rates for the television and telecom sectors. Televisa and Iusacell appealed the commission's ruling and on Thursday the CFC reversed its decision, clearing the way for a conditional alliance. Among the conditions imposed by the CFC, the regulator said that a broadcast license for a third national channel must be granted within two years; if not, the Iusacell partnership will be dissolved. Just last week Mexico announced the auction of two digital terrestrial channels in response to demands for more competition in the broadcast TV market. Currently, the television duopoly of Televisa and TV Azteca control a combined 95 percent of the nation's television stations. (Hollywood Reporter)
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