Brazilian integrated operator Oi denied it has signed an accord with America Movil and Telefonica to launch a joint bid to acquire Telecom Italia’s stake in TIM Participacoes.
According to Reuters, the company said in a statement to Brazil’s CVM securities regulator that “there has not been any definition or accord with relation to a structure for this operation, nor have any instruments or proposals outlining such an operation been signed”.
Oi was responding to questions from CVM regarding an article in Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that said Oi had agreed to make a joint offer for TIM with Vivo (Telefonica) and Claro (America Movil), in a deal worth $13.1 billion.
Under the reported deal, America Movil would keep 40 per cent of TIM’s business, with Oi taking 28 per cent and Telefonica about 32 per cent.
However, the agreement among the three companies was not fully finalised, according to the paper.
Oi said in August that it had hired Grupo BTG Pactual to help develop plans around a possible purchase of Telecom Italia’s controlling stake in TIM. Part of the investment bank’s remit was to contact other participants in the market that might be interested in such a deal.
The Brazilian company this week received a €7 billion bid from Altice for its Portuguese assets, while there is also rumoured interest in its African business.
Both sets of assets were acquired as part of Oi’s painful merger with Portugal Telecom earlier this year, as a result of which Zeinal Bava, Oi CEO and the driving force behind the merger, resigned.
The move followed the Portuguese incumbent being forced to cut its stake in the merged entity after the disastrous purchase of $1.1 billion in debt issued by Rioforte, a holding company for the struggling Espirito Santo banking group, a PT shareholder.
Telecom Italia suffered a setback to its Brazilian ambitions when Vivendi opted to sell GVT, the French conglomerate’s broadband unit in the country, to Telefonica.
Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano has long maintained that TIM is a strategic asset, which it wouldn’t be willing to sell, but there have been reports he is becoming more open to a sale.