Claro, Telefónica and TIM win €2.6bn bid for Oi’s mobile assets

Claro, Telefónica and TIM win €2.6bn bid for Oi’s mobile assets

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Brazilian operator Oi has sold its mobile business to a consortium of three other operators for the equivalent of €2.6 billion, according to overnight reports.

The buyer is controlled by América Móvil’s Claro, Telefônica Brasil’s Vivo and the local branch of TIM, the former Telecom Italia.

They had already achieved a so-called “stalking horse” right in the deal, which means that they could top any other bidder. The only one in the bidding in recent weeks was tower company Highline do Brasil, owned by Marc Ganzi’s Digital Colony, which had offered the equivalent of €2.37 billion.

But yesterday’s creditors meeting almost failed to come to a conclusion. The meeting was suspended twice in order to cool tempers, once for an hour and then for 90 minutes.

All unsecured creditor banks requested that the meeting be suspended for 30 days, but that was turned down.

Oi CEO Rodrigo Abreu told the meeting that a delay would be harmful to its future.

“We believe that the timing is very critical to the viability of the company’s recovery,” he said, according to local media.”

He said creditors had to approve the proposal to sell Oi’s non-core assets – its mobile business – so it could focus on its fibre network. “The company depends on this for investments, receiving funds and ensuring financial sustainability.”

However, the story is not over yet. Oi cannot complete its reorganisation until it holds an asset auction – though the Vivo-Claro-TIM consortium will be able to outbid any offer so appears to have a clear route to success.

Undecided yet is how Oi’s customer base will be divided between the three.

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