UPDATE 3-Mexico's Salinas to buy Televisa Iusacell stake for $717 mln

miércoles 10 de septiembre de 2014 19:56 GYT

(Updates with quotes from spokesman)

By Christine Murray and Tomás Sarmiento

MEXICO CITY, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Mexico's Grupo Salinas said on Wednesday its chairman will buy out its partner Grupo Televisa's 50 percent stake in the country's No. 3 wireless operator Iusacell for $717 million and seek a strategic partner to build up the carrier.

Televisa said separately it will make a book loss of around $320 million on the sale. It had already written down the bulk of what is a nearly $900 million loss on its original purchase.

The buyout, which is subject to regulatory approval, effectively reverses a deal approved two years ago after Televisa fought regulators for 14 months to be able to buy half the company for $1.6 billion.

Mexico's notoriously concentrated telecoms and broadcast sectors are in a period of flux after the government pushed through a major reform this year to try and foster competition.

Billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil has said it would sell off some assets in order to reach below 50 percent market share in Mexican telecoms, after it was deemed a dominant market player.

Spain's Telefonica said in July it was in talks over a possible deal in Mexico, with sources saying it was targeting Iusacell.

Grupo Salinas spokesman Luis Nino de Rivera said the idea would be for billionaire owner Ricardo Salinas' future partner to take an equity stake in Iusacell.   Continuación...