Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Televisa is reportedly seeking to acquire a stake in NII Holdings, the country’s smallest mobile operator. According to sources at Dow Jones Newswires, Televisa has asked Mexico’s antitrust agency for approval to buy the stake ahead of its expected involvement in the country’s forthcoming 3G spectrum auctions. “The Federal Competition Commission has been notified by both companies of their intention to undertake this acquisition,” said the source. According to Wireless Intelligence data, NII Holdings is Mexico’s fourth-largest (and smallest) mobile operator and had an estimated 3 million mobile customers at the end of last year. The firm operates in five Latin American countries under the Nextel brand, though it is thought that Televisa is only interested in the Mexican unit. The size of its potential investment is not known.
According to Dow Jones Newswires, Televisa is Mexico’s number one broadcaster and the largest producer of Spanish-language television content in the world. It also owns a fibre optic network operator and has equity stakes in three large cable TV companies. Both Televisa and Nextel were among the companies that purchased bidding rules last month for the Mexican government’s upcoming auction of 3G mobile spectrum. It is hoped that the auctions will provide fresh competition to America Movil’s Telcel, which has over a 72 percent share of Mexico’s mobile market and is the only operator in the country to have rolled out 3G services to date. Televisa hinted last autumn that it was looking for partners to participate in the auctions with a view to adding mobile to its current offering of phone, Internet and pay-TV services.