Former Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure teamed with private equity company Apollo Global Management to launch a potential takeover bid for Latin American operator Millicom, a deal which could be valued at around $9 billion.

Millicom stated it was discussing a deal for an acquisition of all of its outstanding shares with Apollo and Claure Group, though noted there was no certainty a tie-up would materialise and did not reveal any proposed terms.

The operator released the statement in response to market speculation after Financial Times (FT) first reported the news.

FT stated the two groups are considering a bid priced in the high teens per share, with Millicom’s share price last closing at $14.83 before news of a potential deal broke.

Given Millicom’s sizeable debts of around $6.9 billion, the company would be valued at around $9 billion.

FT added Claure and Apollo are trying to structure a bid which would avoid them repaying or refinancing existing debt, due to current turbulence in financial markets.

For Claure, a takeover of Millicom would represent a comeback of sorts to telecoms. He has vast experience in the sector, founding mobile phone distributor Brightstar before selling the company to SoftBank Group in 2014.

He then served as CEO of Sprint for four years, before becoming SoftBank’s COO in May 2018. He left the post in 2022 and went on to found Claure Group, a global investment company.

Apollo, meanwhile has invested heavily in telecoms in recent years and paid $7.5 billion in 2022 to acquire Lumen Technologies, a telephone and broadband provider in the US.