The Colombian government has suspended the process to award a license
to operate a third open television channel until a court settles
outstanding legal issues, Communications Minister Maria del Rosario
Guerra said late Wednesday.
Colombia’s State Council will have to determine whether current
television concession holders can participate in the process, and on
whether the winner will be selected through an auction, Guerra said.
Guerra didn’t rule out “aborting” the ongoing process.
The decision comes after the country’s attorney general said
current television operators can’t participate in the third license
process unless they give up their current licenses before the end of
The attorney general’s office was referring to a consortium formed
by Spain’s privately held Grupo Planeta and by Grupo Nacional de
Medios. Grupo Planeta has a 40% stake in Bogota-based television
The country’s telecommunications regulator, the CNTV, was expected
to award the license to operate a third channel on Oct. 2, five months
later than the original date.
Venezuelan billionaire Gustavo Cisneros, Spanish media group
Promotora de Informaciones SA, or Prisa, and Grupo Planeta
have qualified to bid, according to CNTV.
The three different groups have had to team up with local partners,
since foreigners are barred from owning more than a 40% stake in a
Colombian television station.
The Colombian government wants to award a license to operate a
third open television channel to compete with Caracol Television SA, which is controlled by Colombia’s wealthiest man, Julio
Mario Santo Domingo, and with RCN Television SA, owned
by soft-drink tycoon Carlos Ardila Lulle. (Dow Jones)