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Political Risks Facing Mexico's Televisa [[TV]]

|About:Grupo Televisa, S.A. (TV) Includes:iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW)

Those with a stake in the landmark reforms underway in Mexico EWW are advised to read closely the 20-F form Televisa TV recently submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The full document is available here, but of particular interest is the "Risk Factors" section of item 3, which is chock full of warnings. Some select passages follow.

From page 9:

Political Events in Mexico Could Affect Mexican Economic Policy and Our Business, Financial Condition and Results of Operations

It is possible that the new administration will pursue significant amendments to Mexico's laws, regulations, public policies and government programs. Mexico's current President Enrique Peña Nieto and the three main political parties of Mexico (i.e. PRI, Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN, and the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, or PRD) have signed the Pacto por México, or Pact for Mexico, in which they have agreed to pursue amendments to applicable laws in order to achieve, among others, the following purposes: (NYSE:I) provide the Comisión Federal de Competencia, CFC, or Mexican Antitrust Commission, with the necessary authority to prevent and stop monopolist practices; (ii) achieve increased competition in the telecommunications business; and (NASDAQ:III) open public bids to grant new concessions to offer television broadcasting services. Consequently, changes in laws and regulations, public policies and government programs may occur in the future. Such changes may have a material adverse effect on the Mexican economic, social and political situation, and on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See "- Mexican Antitrust Laws May Limit Our Ability to Expand Through Acquisitions or Joint Ventures", "-Existing Mexican Laws and Regulations or Changes Thereto or the Imposition of New Ones May Negatively Affect Our Operations and Revenue" and "- The Recent Constitutional Bill Being Debated at the Mexican Federal Congress, if Approved, May Have an Adverse Effect on Our Business, Results of Operations and Financial Condition".

From page 10:

Imposition of Fines by Regulators and Other Authorities Could Adversely Affect Our Financial Condition and Results of Operations

A significant portion of our business, activities and investments occur in heavily regulated sectors. Recently, Mexican regulators and other authorities, including tax authorities, have increased their supervision and the frequency and amounts of fines and assessments have increased significantly. Although we intend to defend our positions vigorously when procedures are brought or fines are imposed by authorities, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in such defense. Accordingly, we may in the future be required to pay fines and assessments that could be significant in amount, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

From page 11:

The Recent Constitutional Bill Being Debated at the Mexican Federal Congress, if Approved, May Have an Adverse Effect on Our Business, Results of Operations and Financial Condition

If, as expected, the bill submitted in March 2013 by the House of Representatives (Camara de Diputados) to the Senate to amend the Mexican Federal Constitution with respect to the radio, television and telecommunications industries and the strengthening of the competition and telecommunications authorities (the "Telecom and Antitrust Bill") is approved by two-thirds of the members in attendance of both Chambers of the Mexican Federal Congress and a majority of the State legislatures of Mexico and published by the President, some of these amendments and the implementing legislation may materially and adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The rest of the risk factors can be read in full here.

Given the politically charged environment in which media reforms are taking place in Mexico, it seems safe to say this is more than just a boilerplate risk disclosure. Televisa leadership clearly saw the writing on the wall as far back as last year - the network was absolutely instrumental in helping Peña Nieto get elected to begin with. But nothing of this sort comes without strings attached. And while Peña Nieto may appear to be biting the hand that fed him, there should be no doubt there's another shoe somewhere waiting to drop.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Stocks: EWW, TV