Antitrust authorities in Mexico reversed their stance last Thursday, granting conditional approval of Grupo Televisa’s US$1.6 billion plan to acquire a 50% stake in mobile phone operator Grupo Iusacell. Despite finding that the US$1.6 billion transaction would promote competition and reduce prices in Mexico’s wireless sector, members of Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (MFCC) rejected the deal last January on fears that the partnership would create “grave risks” for competition in the national market for broadcast advertising. (Iusacell controls TV Azteca, which is surpassed only by Televisa as Mexico’s largest television broadcaster.) On appeal, however, the MFCC decided that the deal could proceed as long as the parties adhere to various conditions that are intended to protect the national market for television advertising and programming. Under one of these conditions, Iusacell’s controlling corporate shareholder, GSF Telecom Holdings, must install independent directors and enact controls to prevent the exchange of information among its broadcast television businesses. Other conditions require Televisa and TV Azteca to (1) offer free, unbundled broadcast channels to multichannel video program distributors, (2) sell ad time at average market rates, and (3) refrain from obstructing any future government spectrum auction that would establish new nationwide digital television services. These conditions, predicted the MFCC, would “effectively avoid the risk of collusion and promote greater competition in the free and paid television markets.” Despite criticizing the conditions as “overly restrictive and very onerous for both companies,” a spokesman for Televisa told reporters on Monday that his company would comply.