Billionaire Carlos Slim (pictured), under regulatory pressure to loosen America Movil’s grip on Mexico’s mobile and fixed-line markets, said attempts were being made to sell operator assets on the west coast and near the US border – not just the east coast as previously reported.
Slim, whose family controls America Movil, made his remarks on Bloomberg TV. “We are working with the potential buyers to have an agreement,” he said. The Mexican tycoon declined to comment when asked if America Movil was closest to a deal with AT&T.
Bloomberg reported last month that the Mexican company had approached a number of big-name international players about the possibility of offloading east coast assets for up to $17.5 billion. As well as AT&T, Bloomberg sources said the Latin American telecoms group had contacted Japan’s SoftBank, Canada’s Bell Mobility and China Mobile.
America Movil has been under growing pressure in Mexico since the new and emboldened telecoms regulator – IFT – declared the operator a “preponderant economic agent” and eligible for tougher rules to curb its dominance.
IFT made a breakthrough in July when America Movil announced its decision to reduce its national market share below 50 per cent, through the sale of assets, in order to avoid stiffer price regulation and the possibility of a company break-up ordered by the regulator.
America Movil’s Telcel operation controls around 70 per cent of Mexico’s mobile market. Telmex, the fixed-line arm, has about an 80 per cent market share.