The Argentine National Commission for Defence of Competition (CNDC) watch-dog yesteday gave its final approval for the merger between Telecom Argentina and Cablevisión, insisting on a list of conditions involving the sale of assets.
The newly created anti-trust watchdog’s decision clears the way for Grupo Clarín’s mega-merger of of the two firms. The new company will be the only one cleared to offer the socalled ‘quadruple play’ services — cable TV, Internet, telephone and cell phone service—in Argentina for the next two years.
CNDC cleared what had been a de facto merger, as Grupo Clarín had reportedly already begun running the companies under one roof and had even started promoting the newly fused company to current and prospective clients.
Under the approval, Clarín will have to return 80Mhz in wireless broadband, divest its business in 28 locations where it is the only player, and allow other players to use its infrastructure to offer Internet and other services. Its major competitors, Spain’s Telefónica and billionaire Carlos Slim’s Claro, gave up resistance after backdoor negotiations in the Senate, Pagina/12 reported.
On Wednesday, the Senate’s media commission sent the so-called “short law” on telecommunications (Ley Corta) to the floor for a vote, allowing the international telecom giants to offer quadruple play in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Rosario starting July 2020.
The new company, controlled by Clarín’s leading shareholders, is expected to have a market capitalisation of some US$11 billion, according to La Nación.