Televisa to buy half of Iusacell

Mexican regulators have given the green light to television giant Televisa to buy half of a small mobile phone company owned by its only significant competitor in the TV market, as long as conditions designed to “avoid the risk of collusion” are met.

Televisa currently controls about two-thirds of free TV channels in Mexico, while TV Azteca owns most of the rest. Televisa also has significant interests in cable television companies.

In April 2011 Televisa offered $1.6 billion for half of the mobile company Iusacell which is owned by Grupo Salinas, the holding company of TV Azteca, and controls less than 5 per cent of the mobile market.

The planned purchase was greeted with concerns about the two networks using their alliance to fix advertising prices across the media – from TV to smartphones. The Federal Competition Commission has now issued a statement detailing the conditions for approval of the joint venture.

It said: “The injection of capital into Iusacell could aid more vigorous competition in the mobile market. The accompanying conditions would avoid the risk of collusion and promote greater competition in open and restricted television markets.”

The conditions include the successful auction of a third TV network within two years, and a requirement on the two networks not to “obstruct” the process.

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