Nextel sells Argentine Mobile business to Clarin

NextelNII Holdings has confirmed the sale of the remaining 51 percent stake in Nextel Argentina to Cablevision, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Clarin. The sale gives Cablevision 100 percent ownership of Nextel following its acquisition of a 49 percent stake in the operator last September for USD 178 million.

Clarin’s move into the Argentine mobile market was initially blocked by telecommunications regulator AFTIC in a decision that was widely seen as politically motivated in view of the longstanding dispute between the media group and outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Nextel is currently Argentina’s fourth largest mobile operator with a 3 percent share of the market, well behind Claro (America Movil) with 33 percent, Personal (Telecom Argentina) with 32 percent and Movistar (Telefonica), also with 32 percent.

NII Holdings said the net proceeds received from the transaction will be used to improve its liquidity and support its operations in Brazil. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2014, subsequently proceeding to sell Nextel Mexico to AT&T for USD 1.9 billion. It finally emerged from Chapter 11 last June but recent reports have suggested Nextel Brasil is up for sale for USD 300 million