Mexican magnate’s firm says it’s too poor to pay US bondholders the tens of millions owed


MEXICO (AP) — The company run by Mexican TV, retail and banking magnate Ricardo Salinas Pliego said Tuesday it had failed to reach agreement with bondholders in the United States who are owed tens of millions of dollars in past-due payments.

Salinas Pliego’s TV Azteca company issued a statement Tuesday saying it needed a restructuring of bonds that come due in 2024 because business was so bad.

TV Azteca said it had been in a U.S. court-ordered mediation with bondholders since September, but that process concluded when “the parties were unable to reach a consensual resolution.”

According to the statement, the dispute involves about $400 million in bonds, with about $105 million in past-due payments.

It is an usual situation for Salinas Pliego, who frequently takes to his social media accounts to hand out money or merchandise, and posts photos showing his lavish lifestyle, with yachts and expensive vehicles.

He also often posts strings of stinging insults targeting political figures he disagrees with.

According to the company statement, the bondholders wanted $105 million paid when a deal was reached, in exchange for a restructuring that would grant a six-year extension to 2030 on full repayment.

TV Azteca offered a $45 million initial payment and a mix of six- and eight-year extensions on the bonds’ due dates.

The company said it had been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, a decline in advertising, “the continued deterioration of the TV broadcasting industry and Mexico’s economy as well as additional pressures on the company’s cash flow generating capabilities.”

None of that could be seen in Salinas Pliego’s social media posts, where he posted last week that “to take advantage of the long weekend, we took a trip to New York City, to see what to buy at the art auctions.”

He also posted videos of a yacht and private plane, writing “how pretty the fruits of my labor are.”

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of TV Azteca, he offered to give away a mansion and luxury cars.

Salinas Pliego, who describes himself as “Bitcoin holder, businessman, Libertarian,” has developed a following on social media for his incendiary attacks on political and public figures.

He has had fallings-out with the government, and frequently criticizes one ruling-party congresswoman in Mexico, mocking her weight and calling her “a pig.”

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