Grupo Salinas to buy Iusacell stake

Grupo Salinas to buy Iusacell stake

Mexico’s Grupo Salinas has confirmed plans to acquire a 50% stake in the country’s third-largest mobile operator, Iusacell, from its partner, Grupo Televisa.

Ricardo Salinas, Mexican billionaire and chairman at Grupo Salinas, said that the company will pay $717 million for the stake and will seek a strategic partner to build up the operator.

The acquisition means Salinas now owns 100% of the company and falls in line with reports earlier this year which saw the chairman confirm that he would not be selling his stake in Iusacell.

Televisa invested $1.6 billion in Iusacell in 2011 – after a 14-month battle with regulators – and the company said it will book a loss of approximately $320 million on the sale.

Luis Nino de Rivera, a spokesperson for Grupo Salinas, told reporters that the idea is for the future partner in Iusacell to take an equity stake in the firm.

“We are looking at all those interested in Mexico,” Rivera said, confirming that a number of companies had shown interest.

The Mexican telecoms market is in a state of fluidity following the recent telecoms reforms, and the country’s dominant billionaire Carlos Slim is looking to reduce his market share to 50% by selling off a number of assets.

Read more on the Mexican telecoms reforms in our news analysis.

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