Bloomberg News

Red Card for Slim as Mexico’s Billionaires Vie for Airwaves

February 27, 2012

(Updates with today’s trading in final paragraph.)

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Carlos Slim’s online news service has been banned from covering the Mexican soccer team owned by Grupo Televisa SAB, his opponent in a telecommunications rivalry.

Uno TV Noticias, founded in 2008 by Slim’s Telefonos de Mexico SAB, was told this week it can no longer access the facilities of Club America, the news outlet said on its website. The team’s press office told the agency the ban was a “corporate matter,” according to Uno TV’s report.

Slim and Televisa -- the nation’s largest broadcaster, controlled by billionaire Emilio Azcarraga -- are butting heads as the television and telecommunications industries collide. Televisa’s cable units are offering phone and Internet service, competing with Telmex, controlled by Slim’s America Movil SAB.

Officials for Telmex and Televisa, who can’t be named under their companies’ policies, declined to comment. Phone messages left at America’s press office weren’t returned.

The companies controlled by Slim pulled advertising from Televisa and TV Azteca SAB’s broadcast networks last year, and the companies filed complaints against each other before Mexico’s antitrust agency.

In April, Televisa announced an agreement to buy a $1.6 billion stake in Grupo Iusacell SA, entering the mobile-phone business in competition with America Movil. Mexico’s antitrust agency blocked that deal last month, a decision Televisa plans to appeal.

TV Azteca asked Mexico’s phone regulator in October to determine whether Telmex has the right to offer online video transmissions, since its telecommunications license prevents Slim’s company from using its networks to offer TV service. Azcarraga has also called for regulatory scrutiny of Slim’s broadcasts.

America, one of three Mexican professional teams owned by Televisa, is the nation’s favorite soccer club, supported by 23 percent of fans, according to a report this month from polling firm Consulta Mitofsky. It’s also the most hated team for 44 percent of fans, the poll found.

Televisa was little changed at 52.97 pesos at 8:46 a.m. in Mexico City. America Movil was unchanged at 15.31 pesos.

--Editors: Niamh Ring, Stephen West

#<225440.2951704.2.1.99.7.25># -0- Feb/24/2012 15:16 GMT

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ville Heiskanen at vheiskanen@bloomberg.net


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