France’s Altice, which has an integrated cable and mobile strategy, has made a takeover bid for Portugal Telecom, a move which would breakup the latter’s plan to merge with Brazilian operator Oi, according to Bloomberg.
Altice, the cable holding company of billionaire Patrick Drahi, is aiming to complete a deal “within weeks”, according to unnamed people familiar with the situation.
Any deal would need the agreement of Oi, which controls the entity created by the merger with Portugal Telecom.
Oi is Brazil’s fourth-largest operator, as well as a major player in the fixed market.
Although the Oi-Portugal Telecom deal has not been completed, the Portuguese operator has already transferred its domestic assets to its Brazilian counterpart. Portugal Telecom is retaining a minority stake in the enlarged entity. The deal between the two operators was agreed in October last year.
If the Oi-Portugal Telecom fell apart then Oi would be free to participate in Brazil’s consolidation process. It has already attracted interest from Telecom Italia, which controls TIM Participacoes, Brazil’s second largest operator. Meanwhile, Oi is interested in finding partners for a joint bid for the Italian operator’s stake in TIM.
All of the companies involved decline to comment.
Altice already has cable interests in Portugal, although it is unclear if it would need to make a disposal if its takeover of Portugal Telecom succeeds.
In April, Altice-controlled French cable operator Numericable pulled off the acquisition of SFR, the country’s second largest operator, from Vivendi.
Drahi mentioned at an investor conference in September that Altice’s strategy was to build up those markets where it already has a presence, such as Portugal and Belgium.