Businessman Carlos Newbery is ready to make a fresh attempt to acquire Telecom Italia’s controlling stake in Telecom Argentina, offering 10 per cent more than the sum agreed by investment firm Fintech.
Newbery, who has expressed an interest in Telecom Argentina in the past, could yet throw a spanner in the works to Fintech’s $960 million agreement to acquire Telecom Italia’s 68 per cent stake in Soforo, Telecom Argentina’s holding company, a deal first struck in 2013, but yet to close due to regulatory objections.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Newbery said he is willing to make a bid that would value the stake at up to $1.1 billion.
“The valuation and potential of the company is higher than what has been offered,” he said. “We have been working with our London financial advisers and have the support of Whitebridge in the US and two others that I’m not at liberty to disclose.”
His comments come as Argentinean regulators look set to approve the deal at their next meeting, according to Bloomberg sources.
Last October, the watchdog argued Fintech lacked the experience to control the operator, among other factors as reasons for blocking the deal.
Fintech last week also announced a public tender offer for Telecom Argentina shares it doesn’t already own, according to a filing, further evidence that it is expecting a favourable regulatory decision over the deal.
Newbery acknowledged that the deal with Fintech will probably still go through, but confirmed he has approached Telecom Italia about a higher offer.