Companies fight over control of Mexican radio stations

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s old rough-and-tumble brand of capitalism made a comeback Wednesday, as two corporate groups engaged in a public dispute over control of one of Mexico’s largest radio station chains.

The battle includes legal challenges, the takeover of offices, and dueling press statements, with each of the 50% owners claiming the had the rights to W Radio and the Radiopolis family of stations.

Spain’s Grupo Prisa, a 50% owner, said in a statement Wednesday that a group of businessmen who bought the other half of the radio stations from media giant Televisa had staged a takeover of the Radiopolis board, and entered the stations’ offices to attempt “an unauthorized access to its information services.”

The other half-owners claimed in a press statement that “the Mexican investment took control,” suggesting that the nationality of the shareholders somehow played a role in control of the chain.

Prisa said the supposed shareholders’ meeting that approved ousting the board and management was a meeting “of which Grupo PRISA had no knowledge, and which was not convened or carried out in accordance with the statutes or prevailing legislation, and is therefore void.”

Prisa said it “has decided to take all necessary legal actions to preserve the correct functioning of Radiopolis.” Both sides promised the radio chain’s popular news, commentary and music programming would not be affected, and its stations appeared to be operating normally Wednesday.

Prisa said the new group of half-owners included a Mexican businessman with a checkered past, Carlos Cabal Peniche.

Cabal Peniche’s Mexican banks and holdings collapsed into insolvency in the 1990s. He was not convicted of previous charges and has returned to the country’s business scene, recently helping rescue Mexican airline Interjet with a $150 million loan.

Interjet’s owners were among the ones who originally bought the 50% stake in the radio chain.

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