* Regulators blocked Televisa-Iusacell deal
* Companies pondering challenging ruling
(Updates with comments from Salinas counsel)
By Cyntia Barrera
MEXICO CITY, Feb 2 Mexican cellphone firm
Iusacell said on Thursday it has not considered selling the
entire company, assuming its deal with broadcaster Televisa is
never approved by regulators.
In a 3-to-2 vote, Mexico's competition watchdog Cofeco
blocked Televisa's planned $1.6 billion bid for a 50 percent
stake in Iusacell, cementing tycoon Carlos Slim's dominance of
Mexico's mobile market, the companies said on Wednesday.
Analysts have speculated that one option might be for
Iusacell to offer itself for sale instead.
"I think it is something that has not been considered, it is
not in the plans," Iusacell director of compliance Eduardo Ruiz
Vega told Reuters when asked about the possibility of a sale.
Iusacell vowed on Wednesday to challenge the decision by the
antitrust agency Cofeco, which it said did nothing to improve
competition in Latin America's second-biggest economy.
Televisa (TLVACPO.MX), which has already invested $1.6
billion in Iusacell, hinted it would do the same. The pair have
30 work days to challenge Cofeco's decision. Once regulators
review the case, they can change or ratify their decision.
"We are confident in the judicial, economic and competition
viability of the project," Ruiz Vega said.
Televisa and Iusacell wanted to combine forces to challenge
Slim in a cellphone market that has made him one of the world's
But concerns about the tie-up between two of Mexico's other
wealthiest men -- Televisa's boss Emilio Azcarraga and
Iusacell's owner Ricardo Salinas -- may have fanned concerns
that the pair could also fix advertising prices for anyone
trying to sell products or services through their other
Televisa also owns broadband backbone Bestel, soccer teams
and a massive stadium in Mexico City, a publishing house, Latin
America's biggest magazine distribution network, cable
television companies and a direct-to-home satellite operation.
Salinas' empire includes retailer Elektra (ELEKTRA.MX), cell
phone company Unefon, U.S. Spanish-language network Azteca
America, motorbike and scooter-maker Italika, a bank, an insurer
and a pension fund.
A scuffle with building security guards on Wednesday slowed
officials delivering a still-not-official ruling from
Cofeco representatives arrived, surrounded by federal
police, at Iusacell's Mexico City headquarters in the upmarket
Lomas de Chapultepec area carrying documents with the decision.
As the Cofeco team walked up to the Iusacell offices, they
were prevented from entering by the building's security guards,
prompting a brief pushing and shoving match in the doorway.
Francisco Borrego, Salinas' chief legal counsel, told
Reuters on Thursday that Iusacell was considering filing a
criminal complaint with the attorney general's office against
whoever is found responsible of starting the fight.
"They (Cofeco) tried to push themselves in," he said.
Cofeco has yet to officially disclose their ruling.
(Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Daniel
Wallis, Bernard Orr)
(C) Reuters 2011 All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of
Reuters content, including by caching, framing, or similar means, is
expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters
and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of
the Reuters group of companies around the world.