Mexican Antitrust Regulator Conditionally OKs AT&T's Acquisition Of Iusacell

Mexican telecommunications regulator has on Sunday conditionally approved the acquisition of Mexican wireless company Iusacell by U.S. telecom giant AT&T, Inc (T). The deal will see AT&T buying all of Iusacell's wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and about 8.6 million subscribers.

AT&T agreed on November 7 to acquire Iusacell from Grupo Salinas in a $2.5 billion deal, including debt, as part of efforts to grow in the Latin American nation, where regulatory reforms, an improving economy and a growing population made the deal attractive. AT&T expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2015.

AT&T will acquire 100 percent of Iusacell from Grupo Salinas, currently owning 50 percent of Iusacell, after it closes its purchase of the remaining 50 percent stake of the company from Mexico's biggest broadcaster Grupo Televisa SAB.

The deal between Grupo Salinas and Televisa has also been approved by the competition watchdog in Mexico.

Iusacell was previously being operated as a 50:50 joint venture between Televisa and Grupo Salinas, a holding company belonging to tycoon Ricardo Salinas. Televisa is the world's biggest provider of Spanish-language television content.

The antitrust regulator has set conditions so as to maintain competition in the Mexican market where Iusacell competes with Billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil S.A.B. De C.V. (AMX,AMOV), Mexico's largest mobile operator.

AT&T was previously a minority investor in America Movil, but it sold back the stake in late June in a deal valued at $5.6 billion. AT&T exited America Movil stake after more than two decades of partnership between the two companies.

The move to divest the stake was aimed at facilitating regulatory approval in Latin America for AT&T's proposed $48.5 billion acquisition of satellite-TV company DirecTV (DTV), agreed upon in mid-May. The divestiture also now made it easier to approve the AT&T-Iusacell deal.

T closed Friday's regular trading session at $33.54, up $0.03 or 0.09% on a volume of 40.20 million shares.

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