Is Carlos Slim about to be trimmed?

Mar 22, 2013

The lower house of the Mexican Congress has just approved a presidential bill that would enable national regulators to pronounce a company 'dominant' in segments in the telecommunications and media markets in Mexico. Having done so, under the terms of the legislation, the regulatory body would be able to cancel licenses and order divestments.

You might consider that America Movil - the prime vehicle for Carlos Slim who holds a 43 per cent stake - might be a prime target for any such body, since the company currently dominates Mexican telecoms with about 80 per cent of the fixed market and up to 70 per cent of mobile market - a monopoly position in anyone's terms.

But things aren't that simple. In a strange twist of fate (perhaps) Slim may be able to pick up more than he may, theoretically, be forced to put down. That's because he also has a big interest in the media market having just bought exclusive transmission rights in Latin America for next year's winter Olympics and 2016's summer games.

Fortuitously one of the other companies the new monopoly policing body in Mexico is sure to be gunning for is the dominant broadcaster Televisa. With the opening up of the pay TV market, his new content rights, and with Televisa under regulatory pressure to divest, Slim is sure to establish a strong position in media which, some observers say, will return more than enough value to offset any disposals forced on him in the telecoms market.

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