Oi, the Brazilian integrated operator, is believed to be looking for partners with which to make a bid for Telecom Italia’s controlling stake in TIM Participacoes.
Bloomberg sources said the company’s adviser, Banco BTG Pactual, is talking with Telefonica and America Movil about a mostly cash offer for the second biggest mobile operator in Brazil.
It is not clear how much of an appetite Telefonica will have for another deal in Brazil, now that French media company Vivendi has said it is in exclusive negotiations about the Spanish company acquiring its Brazilian fixed operator GVT.
Rio-based Oi said earlier this week that it had asked Banco PTG Pactual to review options “with the purpose of enabling a viable proposal for the acquisition of the shares of TIM” indirectly held by Telecom Italia.
Reports that Oi is in talks to sell its stake in Angolan mobile operator Unitel for around $2 billion, suggest it is also looking at other ways to raise funds. Oi acquired the stake in Unitel in May as part of its merger with Portugal Telecom.
Oi CEO Zeinal Bava recently said the company is considering more asset disposals after reducing debt by almost $3 billion since April 2013 through the sale of infrastructure.
Oi could face a rival in the form of Vodafone, which was linked with acquiring a Brazilian operator last week, with TIM thought to be its favoured target.
Telecom Italia has previously said it won’t sell TIM but Oi clearly want to take part in the consolidation taking place in the Brazilian market due to slowing market growth and government pressure for greater investment in infrastructure.
Telecom Italia said in a statement yesterday that it is not aware of the Oi plans and that TIM is “a strategic asset on which it is committed to concentrating important investment and growth prospects”.