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September 2, 2014
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Clarín OKs adjustment

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof leaves the Clarín Group’s headquarters yesterday following a shareholders’ meeting.

Kicillof attends meeting, says details still missing

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof yesterday attended a Clarín Group’s Shareholders’ Meeting, where the company’s owners approved the adjustment plan that had been presented by the conglomerate to comply with the Broadcast Media Law.

Clarín’s shareholders approved previous actions by Board of Directors members “in charge of outlining, developing and presenting the plan that was finally approved by AFSCA on February 17,” the country’s largest media conglomerate reported in a news release.

Directors were given permission to act before the courts and oversight agencies “in order to allow authorizations and to remove obstacles that may result from the effective implementation of the plan,” the conglomerate added.

Minor skirmishes took place as Kicillof and other officials tried to enter the company’s headquarters in the southern City neighbourhood of Barracas.

The head of the SIGEN state controller agency Daniel Reposo said officials were entitled to take part in Clarín’s extraordinary assembly “because the national government owns 9 percent of the (company’s) shares” that were passed onto the state’s hands following the nationalization of the AFJP private pension funds.

Kicillof said the government needs to be “very alert” regarding the potential distribution of shares now that the media group agreed to comply with the anti-trust regulations.

Clarín’s income “is highly concentrated in its cable-television firm,” the Economy minister said, referring to cable company Cablevisión.

The official added that the state should also seek that the adjustment plan does not leave “a very reduced stake in the company” for minority stakeholders such as the national government.

Kicillof added that the assembly has not yet revealed who will be the potential owners of the six new proposed units of the company.

“The owners, the buyers and the directors are yet to be revealed,” the Economy minister said.

Kicillof was present for the whole two and a half hours of the meeting and voted in line with other shareholders “but with some dissidences,” other participants quoted by private news agency DyN said.

On November 4, 2013, the Clarín Group presented its own disinvestment plan after a previous Supreme Court ruling that confirmed the constitutionality of the Media Law.

The company insisted that its presentation should not be interpreted as a change of opinion on the law itself.

An AFSCA spokesman told the Herald last night that Clarín has yet to present the names of the new heads of these new media groups and present documentation that certifies that these people are effectively allowed to own a media license.

Previous meeting

Hours before the meeting, Kicillof met with AFSCA media watchdog head Martín Sabbatella “to coordinate the national government’s stance” on the matter, the department said in a press release.

According to AFSCA, the meeting between the two Kirchnerite officials was made “so as to avoid any media group from cheating the democratic action” of the state while trying to apply the broadcast regulation passed into law in 2009.

—Herald staff with DyN, Télam

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