Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano has stated that the firm may abandon the sale of its stake in Telecom Argentina to Fintech if it continues to face regulatory delays.
The original deadline for the $960 million deal was August this year, but this has been delayed to September 25th. Patuano has claimed that financial issues in Argentina are responsible for the delay, with reports citing the fact that Fintech already owns cable assets in the country.
Patuano stated: “we can’t put it off indefinitely and in that case would reconsider”.
Fintech is buying Telecom Italia’s directly owned shares in the Argentian operator for $860 million. This sum also includes stakes in certain units of TI that hold equity in Telecom Argentina. Fintech will pay the remaining $100 million after additional criteria are met, including TI providing tech support for a further 3 years.
Telecom Italia is selling off assets in an attempt to reduce its debt and improve its investment grade credit rating. Its stake in Telecom Argentina is a key holding.
Elsewhere in Latin America, TI’s Brazilian unit TIM Participacoes has attracted attention from Oi, among others. Patuano noted that TIM remained a core asset without ruling out the possibility of a sale in the future.