Televisa wants cable in its stable

Regulators could block attempt to buy stake

MEXICO CITY — Mexican media conglom Televisa, the world’s biggest Spanish-language broadcaster, wants to beef up its cable holdings but may have difficulty winning regulatory approval.

Televisa’s quarterly results, released after the market closed on Wednesday, show it has invested $258 million in the debt of Alfavig, which holds a 49% stake in Cablemas, the nation’s second biggest cabler with nearly 676,000 subscribers.

Televisa’s investment in the five-year notes is convertible into a 99.99% equity stake, but the conversion is subject to regulatory approval.

“The talks with (Mexican competition regulator) Cofeco are very positive,” said Televisa exec VP Alfonso de Angoitia during a conference call with analysts Thursday.

Mexican regulators blocked Televisa’s attempt to buy a stake in another cabler last fall.

Televisa is the majority owner of the nation’s only satcaster, Sky Mexico, and Cofeco had tried to force Televisa to divest part of its Sky stake when it attempted to buy another cabler last year.

Televisa also owns a majority stake in Mexico City’s only cabler, Cablevision.

Company plans to roll out the triple-play of phone, TV and Internet services during the year and begin competing with dominant Mexican telco Telmex.

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