Slim’s Billionaire Rivalry Plays Out on Mexico’s Soccer Fields

December 11, 2013

Bloomberg, 12/11/2013

Soccer StadiumMexican billionaires Carlos Slim and Emilio Azcarraga, who typically go head-to-head for phone customers and TV viewers, are taking their rivalry to the soccer field this week in their country’s championship game.

Slim, the owner of the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, is an investor in Club Leon, which is a finalist in Mexico’s national soccer league. The team is squaring off against reigning champ Club America, controlled by TV magnate Azcarraga, in a two-game series starting tomorrow in Leon’s home stadium.

Caught in the crossfire are the legions of Mexican soccer fans who won’t be able to watch because of an agreement to televise the match only on cable for the first time. After Slim’s America Movil  acquired a stake in Leon last year, the club signed a broadcast-rights deal with cable’s Fox Sports.

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Mexico watchdog weighs if America Movil, Televisa dominate sector

December 6, 2013

Reuters, 12/6/2013

Carlos Slim

Giant Mexican telco America Movil and broadcaster Televisa, the two companies likely to be most affected by the country’s telecoms reform, said on Thursday the regulator has told them it was determining whether they are dominant players in the sector.

The notifications are the first step in a process mandated by a telecoms reform passed by Mexico’s Congress earlier this year that gives the new Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) powers to clamp down on dominant players and spur competition.

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The year of leading from behind

November 25, 2013

The Economist, 11/23/2013

Enrique Pena NietoWhen Enrique Peña Nieto spoke at an Economist conference this month, he was reminded that this newspaper had cautiously endorsed him for president last year as the “least bad” of the candidates. The audience laughed nervously; easy-going in person, the president is rarely exposed to such public leg-pulling. But though his first year in office has had downs, it has had more ups. If he can bring home the raft of reforms that he has launched, he could transform Mexico.

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Secondary laws for Mexico telecoms overhaul to be delayed -lawmakers

November 25, 2013

Reuters, 11/23/2013

Carlos Slim

Legislation to implement a major overhaul of Mexico’s telecommunications industry will not be approved until early next year, pushing back a deadline set for December, two senior lawmakers said on Saturday.

The secondary laws set out the fine print for a telecoms reform promulgated in June by President Enrique Pena Nieto which gives regulators sweeping powers to rein in billionaire Carlos Slim’s telecoms giant America Movil and dominant broadcaster Televisa.

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Telefonica Said to Seek Partner in Mexico to Challenge Slim

November 13, 2013

Bloomberg, 11/13/2013

carlos slimTelefonica SA  has approached potential acquisition targets and partners in Mexico, where it’s seeking to challenge billionaire Carlos Slim’s dominance, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Spain’s biggest telecommunications group has held discussions with companies including Grupo Iusacell SA, a smaller rival co-owned by Ricardo Salinas and pay-TV provider Grupo Televisa SAB, said the people, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private. Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA are working with Madrid-based Telefonica, said another person familiar with the matter.

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Mexico to identify possible telecom antitrust targets ‘very soon

November 12, 2013

carlos slimReuters, 11/11/2013

Mexico’s new telecommunications watchdog said on Monday it may identify this month which companies dominate the local market, likely paving the way for tougher regulation against telecom company America Movil and broadcaster Televisa.

Gabriel Contreras, president of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), said the watchdog would in the near future inform the companies it had determined to be dominant, adding that it could be as soon as this month.

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Mexico Cinema Crosses the Border With ‘Instructions,’ ‘Nobles’

November 8, 2013

Variety, 11/6/2013

nosotros_los_noblesThe crossover success of at least one Mexican film, along with plans in place for another local hit to make its way north, have Mexico’s bizzers thinking big, and targeting the U.S. as fertile ground for distribution. Mexico’s box office is typically dominated by movies from Hollywood. In 2012, the country’s total B.O. receipts hit $841 million, with two local hits contributing a dismal $7.8 million. In 2011, the biggest local film was the animated “Top Cat,” with $8 million, while in 2010, box office for the top two local hits peaked at $16.6 million.

This year, however, things have changed a bit. Gaz Alazraki’s “We Are the Nobles,” distribbed by Warner Bros., has grossed $26.6 million at the local box office, while Eugenio Derbez’s “Instructions Not Included” has taken in $44.9 million through Oct. 27. More important, “Instructions” has also been a hit in the U.S. for Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture Pantelion Films, grossing $44.0 million through Oct. 30 in the States — making it the second-highest-grossing foreign-language film of all time.

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Mexico telecom law should cut Slim market share below 50 percent: lawmaker

October 11, 2013

Reuters, 10/10/2013

Carlos Slim

Mexico’s new telecoms reform should be able to reduce tycoon Carlos Slim’s share of the local mobile phone market to less than 50 percent in the next five years, an influential opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday. The law, broadly backed across the political spectrum in Mexico, targets Slim’s giant phone company America Movil  and rival Emilio Azcarraga’s broadcaster Televisa, powerful symbols of the power wielded by a select group of families over Latin America’s second biggest economy.

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Televisa to Acquire Mexico’s Cablecom in $745 Million Deal

August 1, 2013

televisaBloomberg, 8/1/2013

Grupo Televisa SAB agreed to a $745 million transaction that would give it control of Mexico’s Cablecom, strengthening its grip on the growing pay-TV market.

Televisa is acquiring 7 billion pesos ($549 million) in debt that’s convertible to a 95 percent stake in Tenedora Ares SAPI, which owns 51 percent of Cablecom, according to a filing today. Ares also has an option to acquire the rest of Cablecom. As part of the deal, Mexico City-based Televisa said it also bought about 2.5 billion pesos in Ares debt.

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How Mexico Became So Corrupt

June 27, 2013

cross my fingersThe Atlantic, 6/25/2013

Grupo Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish-language media company, is famous for its logo, a gold-colored eye gazing at the world through a television screen. According to The Guardian, this logo “captures the company’s success at controlling and dominating what Mexicans watch”. In a country where newspaper readership is tiny and the reach of the Internet and cable is still largely limited to the middle classes, Televisa — and its rival TV Azteca — exert a powerful influence over national politics. Through its scores of stations and repeater towers, the former accounts for roughly two-thirds of the nation’s free-to-air television; most of the rest belong to Azteca.

Accused for decades of politically slanted news coverage, Televisa represents another rarely spoken fact: modern Mexico has never functioned without corruption, and its current system would either collapse or change beyond recognition if it tried to do so. Just before the 2012 elections, Mexican news magazine Proceso and The Guardian released evidence of a series of shady deals struck between Televisa and the nation’s powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (the “PRI”).

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