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Televisa, Iusacell Await Word After Antitrust Verdict Reached

Grupo Televisa SAB, Mexico’s largest broadcaster, is awaiting word on whether the nation’s antitrust agency has approved its planned investment of $1.6 billion in mobile-phone carrier Grupo Iusacell SA.

While the Federal Competition Commission reached a decision last night, it can’t announce the verdict until it has legally notified the parties involved, the agency said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The agency has until Feb. 7 to complete that task, it said.

The transaction would give Televisa entry into the market for wireless service, escalating its rivalry with billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB in Mexico. The companies already compete for Internet and home-phone customers. Televisa has sought approval since April, when it announced the deal.

Under the terms of the operation Televisa would get a 50 percent stake in Iusacell. Televisa agreed to pay an additional $400 million to Iusacell shareholders if Ebitda reaches a cumulative $3.47 billion between January 2011 and Dec. 31, 2015. Iusacell had Ebitda of about $150 million in 2009, according to Barclays Capital Plc.

Iusacell, owned by billionaire Ricardo Salinas, has sought the investment to improve its coverage and services after failing to lure customers from America Movil, which has 70 percent of Mexican subscribers. Without Televisa’s money, Iusacell could disappear, Francisco Borrego, Salinas’s chief legal counsel, said in a Jan. 12 interview.

Officials for Televisa and Iusacell who can’t be named under company policy had no immediate comment.

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