Telefonica has reached an agreement to sell its Argentinian free-to-air channel Telefe (Television Federal) to US media giant Viacom for up to USD 400 million, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. The transaction has yet to be confirmed but could be announced as soon as this week, said one of the sources. Viacom outbid Time Warner and the Cisneros Group to acquire the only free-to-air broadcaster that Telefonica still owns, still the most-watched channel in the country, slightly ahead of rival Canal 13, owned by the Clarin group.
Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri has been looking to increase foreign investment in the country and his government is set to introduce a new market-friendly telecommunications and media act next year.
Argentina’s telecommunications regulator Enacom has awarded Virgin Mobile a license to operate as the country’s first major MVNO, confirming an earlier report. Virgin has been granted permission to operate “fixed line and mobile phone services, with or without its own infrastructure,”. The UK-based company has been given 180 days to submit the required documentation. The only other MNVO currently active in Argentina is “Nuestro”, a small cooperative-run operator which uses the Telecom Argentina network and serves around 30,000 customers.
According to a recent report, Virgin is currently in talks to use Telefonica’s Movistar network, which it already uses to operate in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and, most recently, Peru.
America Movil has expressed interest in the possibility of acquiring assets in Argentina’s state-owned communications operator Arsat and Buenos Aires-based cable company TeleCentro, according to local press reports.
The billionaire owner of the Mexican telecoms giant, Carlos Slim, held a private meeting with Argentine president Mauricio Macri to assess investment opportunities in Arsat, which was recently entrusted with bringing low-cost internet access to 1,200 localities throughout Argentina. The deal could see America Movil acquiring a stake in the Refefo Federal Fibre-Optic Network, plus capacity on the Arsat-2 satellite.
Although America Movil is already present in Argentina via its Claro and Telmex Argentina subsidiaries, it cannot provide pay-TV services under the provisions of the Broadcast Media and Telecommunications Law. However, the acquisition of TeleCentro could pave the way for the introduction of quad-play services in the short term, said the report.
Grupo Bimbo announced today an agreement with General Mills for acquiring the frozen bread business in Argentina, a transaction that is subject to the approval of regulatory authorities.
Through this acquisition –that does not represent a material amount for the Company – Grupo Bimbo will continue consolidating its presence in the South American market, complementing its supply in the category of frozen bread that the Company is already manufacturing under the Bertrand brand. The portfolio includes products such as French baguettes and croissants.
Grupo Bimbo started operations in Argentina in 1995 and is leader of the bread industry in that country with five plants and a portfolio of products under emblematic local and global brands in the categories of bread loaves, buns, tortillas and sweet rolls, among others.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Wednesday announced a $500 million investment in Argentina for production of a new vehicle for the Latin American market.
The plant is scheduled to launch production in the second half of 2017 and will produce more than 100,000 vehicles a year, according to the automaker.
“This plant will operate using the most advanced technologies available to FCA today,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement. “This choice demonstrates a major strategic change, giving the Córdoba plant a central role in FCA’s industrial activities in Latin America.”
Marchionne was joined by Argentine President Mauricio Macri and other government officials for the announcement, which was made during an event at Cordoba’s Ferreyra Plant.
Argentina versus Brazil. It’s bigger than the Red Sox versus the Yankees. The Patriots versus, well, the NFL. ManU versus Arsenal. Who is better Pele or Maradona? If they represented a country’s government, then it’s Maradona today. With Cristina Kirchner no longer in power, businessman and new president Mauricio Macri now trumps Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff. The market has decided that Argentina is better.
“We find greater reason for optimism there,” says Craig Botham, emerging markets economist at Schroders in London. He says that, oddly enough, Argentina is further along the “reform path” even though Macri just took over in January. “The new government has an ambitious and wide ranging reform platform, and a popular mandate to back it,” Botham says. “Progress has already been made on the issue of the bond holdouts, and the legislation received support across the (political) spectrum. Fiscal and inflation targets are next, and to us they strike the right balance between bold and credible. Officials are frank, but confident about the challenges they face.”
President Barack Obama hopes to capitalize on renewed goodwill in Latin America when he is welcomed in Argentina on Wednesday for talks with a new leader more amenable to the United States.
While not as historic as his visit to Cuba earlier in the week, Obama’s stop in Argentina is seen by administration officials as symbolic of a growing thaw in the region prompted by opening ties to Havana. And the centrist government that recently took power could be fertile ground for expanding U.S. ties.
Despite the terror attacks that ripped through Brussels and dominated headlines Tuesday, the White House made clear that Obama planned to continue with his trip and complete his full schedule in Argentina.
The White House said the trip will serve as a way for the presidents of the two countries to discuss Argentina’s new reform agenda and recognize Argentinian President Mauricio Macri’s speaking out on human rights in the region. Washington also hopes the trip will increase cooperation in trade and investment.
Argentina will tell Brazil it wants to maintain a cap on Brazilian car imports for at least another year, the Clarin newspaper reported on Monday, dealing a blow to its neighbor’s hope of liberalizing the trade.
“We understand that they want to begin the total liberalization of trade (in cars) this year. But we’re going to propose the existing system be extended,” Clarin cited Industry Secretary Martin Etchegoyen as saying.
Argentina’s President, Mauricio Macri, won the support of the lower house of Congress for a settlement with bondholders on Wednesday, leaving Argentina one Senate vote away from ending a 14-year battle with creditors. Lawmakers across the political divide voted 165 to 86 to approve the deal after a 20-hour televised debate.
Argentina’s economy was “clearly in recession” toward the end of last year with gross domestic product contracting 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the president’s Cabinet chief Marcos Pena said. But the country’s statistics are cloudy as new President Mauricio Macri reforms the government’s data agency, following complaints about inaccurate numbers published by the previous administration.