Brazil’s Oi does not want to unravel its proposed merger with Portugal Telecom, but may be willing to offload some assets acquired in the deal, said acting CEO Bayard Gontijo in an interview with Reuters.
Gontijo (pictured) listed non-core assets including cell towers, real estate and its interest in Africatel unit as potentially disposable (the latter has been mentioned before as sellable).
France’s Altice wants to buy the whole of Portugal Telecom and is reported to be looking for ‘exclusive’ talks with Oi, which is still closing the merger with its Portuguese partner.
Sources have put a price tag of between €6 billion and €6.5 billion on Portugal Telecom.
Earlier this week Oi was equivocal following reports that it was willing to sell Portugal Telecom and concentrate domestically, saying “no decision has been made regarding the sale of assets in Portugal, nor had it received any such offers”.
That statement followed the resignation of Zeinal Bava, CEO of Oi and the architect of the Portugal Telecom deal. Gontijo, who is the current CFO, stepped up as replacement on an interim basis.
He said any sale of Portugal Telecom assets would be useful in combating the mounting debts faced by Oi.
The company is looking for a full-time replacement for Bava and has been linked to Amos Genish, founder of GVT, the Brazilian broadband provider being acquired by Telefonica, by the local media.
A report said he was the favoured candidate of Oi’s controlling shareholders. However, in a statement to the financial markets, the company said the shareholders concerned had had “no talks or negotiations” with Genish.
However, the company did not reject him as a potential candidate.