The shareholders of Portugal Telecom SGPS have approved the sale of Oi’s Portuguese telecoms assets to Altice in a €7.4 billion deal, which should allow the Brazilian operator to reduce its debts and participate in the current consolidation of its domestic mobile market.
The approval also lands what appears to be a near fatal blow to the proposed merger between Portugal Telecom and Oi.
PT SGPS owns 25.6 per cent of Oi which, in turn, controls PT Portugal, the country’’s largest mobile and fixed network, which has now fallen under the control of French firm Altice.
The crucial vote by PT SGPS was originally slated for 12 January but was postponed until 22 January, a delay which raised concern over whether the proposal would be supported. In the event, any anxiety proved unwarranted.
Present or represented at the general meeting were shareholders representing 44 per cent of PT SGPS’ voting share capital. The Altice deal was approved by 98 per cent of the votes present or represented and cast at the meeting.
The chairman of the meeting barred Oi itself from voting, citing conflict of interest. Oi holds a ten per cent stake in PT SGPS.
The original vision of the Oi-Portugal Telecom merger was creating a Portuguese-language behemoth, straddling Brazil, Africa and Europe. That looks an unlikely prospect now, given the sale of a key element to an outside company.
“In reality the process, the creation of a global Portuguese-language operator, was all changed, which was a great shame,” said PT Portugal chairman Joao Manuel de Mello Franco, quoted by Reuters.