Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas is reportedly attempting to acquire 50% of Iusacell from broadcaster Televisa, in a deal which would give him full control of Mexico’s number three operator.
The $717 million deal is indicative of the Salinas Group’s increasing interest in Mexico following the country’s anti-monopoly reforms. The group, which describes itself as a “group of dynamic, fact-growing and technologically advanced companies”, aims to expand the operator’s commercial and technology infrastructure in Mexico.
Salinas has released a statement expressing an interest in finding an operating partner for Iusacell, saying that he is “in the process of selecting a world class strategic partner to strengthen the robust performance of [Iusacell] and jointly boost the most competitive telecommunications offer in Mexico”.
Telefonica has previously expressed an interest in a merger between Iusacell and its Mexican unit, Movistar. Salinas’ eagerness to find a partner may provide the Spanish group with an opportunity to capitalise on this interest. A tie-up would allow the resulting entity to challenge America Movil’s massively dominant Telcel more effectively.
Iusacell currently has around 8 million connections, while Movistar has almost 20 million. Both are dwarfed by Telcel’s 70 million.