Rivals mull pact to buy and break-up Oi mobile unit - Mobile World Live

Rivals mull pact to buy and break-up Oi mobile unit

07 OCT 2019

Speculation on the future of troubled Brazil operator Oi ramped, as rivals Telefonica, America Movil and Telecom Italia reportedly began talks to jointly purchase its mobile assets.

Spanish newspaper Expansion reported the three companies were in discussions to form a pact to buy Oi’s mobile division and then divide the assets up. Such a move would reduce the number of major operators in the market to three.

Details on how the fragmentation of Oi’s mobile division would work were sparse, with talks apparently in the early stages.

The report of the potential three-way deal is the latest in a series of articles speculating on the future of Oi, which has ramped over recent months as the company’s financial situation deteriorates.

In September, Telefonica, Telecom Italia and an unnamed Chinese company were said to be in talks to acquire Oi’s mobile operation.

Telecom Italia denied it was involved in negotiations, while Huawei later declared it had no interest in a joint move with China Mobile to buy the unit, following speculation in Asia-based publications.

Questions on the future of Oi’s mobile division and the company as a whole have been raised on a regular basis even before it filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2016 with $19 billion worth of debt.

Although the debt has now been restructured, it is still losing money. In Q2 alone Oi recorded a net loss of BRL1.6 billion ($395 million). Net debt increased 24 per cent sequentially during the quarter to BRL12.6 billion.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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