Fourth-placed Brazilian operator Oi has denied reports that it has formed an alliance with rival America Movil and Telefonica to bid for Telecom Italia’s Brazilian unit, TIM Partecipacoes.
The integrated operator has reportedly stated to Brazil’s CVM securities regulator that “there has not been any definition or accord with relation to a structure for this operation, nor have any instruments or proposals outlining such an operation been signed”.
This statement was in response to queries from CVM regarding an article in Folha de S. Paulo newspaper. The article reported that Oi, Vivo (owned by Telefonica) and Claro (America Movil) would lodge a joint $13.1 billion bid for TIM.
It was alleged that the details of the deal had not been fully finalised, but that TIM would be split between the 3 operators with America Movil taking 40%, Telefonica 32% and Oi 28%.
Now that it has denied the joint bid, it remains to be seen whether Oi will launch its own bid for TIM. The operator hired Grupo BTG Pactual in August to help it assess its options for acquiring Telecom Italia’s controlling stake. These included forming a partnership with either Claro or Vivo – an option Oi appears to have spurned.
For its part, Telecom Italia has never confirmed that it is looking to sell TIM, with CEO Marco Patuano stating that it is an asset with strategic importance.