Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Argentine Media Giant Plans Breakup

Argentina's largest media company offered on Monday to break itself up into six separate business units, the latest effort by Grupo Clarín to prevent the government from dismantling it under a media law the country's top court upheld last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In documents filed to the Supreme Court and the government's media regulator, Clarín said it would voluntarily divide its profitable cable-television business into three companies, two of which would contain TV and radio stations.

The other three companies would offer a mix of broadcast, cable-TV and radio stations around the country.

There was no immediate response from the government to Clarín's proposal.

The move comes a week after the top court declared the country's 2009 media law constitutional, ending a three-year legal battle. President Cristina Kirchner and proponents of the law say it is aimed at breaking up media monopolies by limiting the number of cable-TV and broadcast licenses one company can hold. But Clarín and government critics say it is aimed at muzzling a free press.

Clarín said breaking the company up was the "least desirable" outcome, but said it was being "steamrolled under the threat of confiscation" by the government.

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