Vivendi, EchoStar End Plans for Brazilian Pay-TV Joint Venture

Vivendi SA said its unit GVT has ended talks for a joint venture with satellite-equipment maker EchoStar Corp. to offer pay-television services across Brazil.

The Paris-based company, which didn’t give a reason for dropping the plans, said in an e-mailed statement that it will continue to pursue pay-TV growth in Brazil on its own.

Vivendi and EchoStar, seeking to take on DirecTV and America Movil SAB, had announced plans for the venture in October. The new company, which was to have been based in Brazil and run by GVT, was going to use the Vivendi unit’s communications network and Englewood, Colorado-based EchoStar’s satellite and video technology.

GVT already offers pay-TV over its home Internet connections, with about 530,000 subscribers at the end of June, according to Brazilian regulator Anatel. That compared with 9 million for Mexico City-based America Movil, 5.2 million for El Segundo, California-based DirecTV and 889,000 for Rio de Janeiro-based phone company Oi SA.

America Movil, the phone carrier controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, has a partnership with Dish Mexico for marketing and billing. EchoStar co-owns Dish Mexico with a local company, MVS Comunicaciones SA. America Movil has an option to acquire a majority stake in Dish Mexico if it obtains a license to offer pay-TV service in its home country.

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