Oi irked by Portugal Telecom bid

Oi irked by Portugal Telecom bid

10 NOV 2014

Brazil’s Oi said that a bid being launched for its part-owner Portugal Telecom SGPS is “untimely”, after Angolan entrepreneur Isabel dos Santos threw her hat into the ring.

Bloomberg described Portugal Telecom SGPS as “a holding company whose main asset is a minority stake in the carrier created from the merger with Brazilian telecommunications company Oi”.

Last week, Altice made a binding offer to purchase the Portuguese assets of Portugal Telecom from Oi for around €7 billion. These assets are controlled by Oi rather than PT SGPS, although Reuters said the current bid marks “an attempt to thwart” the Altice deal.

“The end objective is the acquisition of a large, but not controlling stake in Oi, allowing to maintain the Portugal Telecom group fully intact,” a spokesperson told the news agency.

However, it was also noted that it is not immediately clear if dos Santos will be able to acquire a large enough stake in Oi to stop the transaction.

dos Santos (the daughter of Angola’s president) launched the bid through holding company Terra Peregrin, with the offer of €1.35 per share being a premium of 11 per cent on the Friday closing price.

According to Bloomberg, the offer values PT SGPS at around €1.2 billion.

Portugal Telecom is in the process of merging with Oi, and Terra Peregrin said that while it is supportive of this transaction, its bid would lead to some delays.

The merger of Oi and Portugal Telecom has been far from plain sailing, with the deal having to be renegotiated after a related financial transaction undertaken by Portugal Telecom earlier this year.

But Oi is also seen as a potential candidate for consolidation in its home market, possibly through an alliance with Telecom Italia’s TIM.

Terra Peregrin is also a shareholder in Nos, a Portuguese integrated operator and rival of Portugal Telecom. No comment has been made about the relationship between the two telecoms companies should the newly-proposed deal go through.

The Portuguese markets regulator, CMVM, has suspended trading of the PT SGPS shares, in order to give investors time to analyse announcements made in recent days.

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Steve Costello

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