Egyptian dealmaker Naguib Sawiris is set to invest $250 million to help troubled Brazilian telco Oi out of bankruptcy proceedings, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said The Sawiris Group, which controls Orascom Telecom Media & Technology, put the proposal together along with a group of bondholders and investment bank Moelis. The plan is to inject $1.25 billion into Oi, of which $1 billion will come from a public share sale.
The group will also take control of the Brazilian player.
Oi filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2016, marking the biggest ever action of its type in Brazil. Since then, it made unsteady progress due to struggles balancing the interests of shareholders and bondholders.
The report is not the first linking Sawiris with Oi, although earlier interactions were played down. However, WSJ reported some shareholders are not in favour of the current plan, with a different group of bondholders, led by advisory firm G5 Evercore, looking to work on an alternative.
Oi has substantial fixed line assets, but its presence in the mobile market is smaller. Various factors have contributed to its ongoing struggles, including regulatory requirements related to its fixed business and its earlier merger with – and disentanglement from – Portugal Telecom.
Timor Telecom deal
Last week, Oi requested approval for the sale of Timor Telecom, a “non-relevant” asset it previously said was up for grabs.
After a competitive sale process, Oi received a proposal from Investel Communications to acquire its direct and indirect holdings for $36 million, in addition to the payment of Timor Telecom’s debts to Oi to the tune of $26 million.
In line with its reorganisation plan, Oi needs the green light from the courts to do the deal.
The Brazilian company gained a number of assets in Africa as a result of its earlier merger with Portugal Telecom, retaining them even after PT’s domestic assets were offloaded. These assets have been classified as held for sale.