Mexico's No. 2 net could begin b'casting by Thursday

TV Azteca has beaten GE for control of bankrupt Mexico City-based UHF station Canal 40.

Mexico’s No. 2 net could begin broadcasting on the channel via subsidiary Organizacion Mexicana de Television by Thursday.

GE had offered to rescue the weblet, which has been off the air for six months, as part of plans to partner with Mexican investors to take over the station and broadcast NBC-owned Telemundo content.

Outside legal council for TV Azteca Salvador Rocha said communications and labor authorities had recognized Hernan Cabalceta, who holds a 5% stake in the channel, as station head.

He persuaded striking workers to accept an offer from TV Azteca to pay off nearly $5 million in unpaid wages.

Canal 40’s majority owner, Javier Moreno Valle faces charges of tax fraud from the Mexican IRS and had been on the lam since May. He was detained by U.S. immigration authorities in early November, but was reportedly released on bail and may face extradition proceedings.

TV Azteca has been fighting a legal battle since 2000 to take control of the web, going so far as to send heavily armed men in 2002 to take over the channel’s transmission tower.

Moreno Valles’ legal reps accuse Cabalceta of staging a coup and say they will continue to fight for control in court.

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