America Movil is acquiring Nextel Brazil from its two shareholders for a combined $905 million.
Shares in Nextel Brazil are currently split 70:30 between NII Holdings and AI Brazil Holdings. The deal requires approval from the regulator, but if it goes ahead then it will likely see NII cease operations altogether as its stake in Nextel Brazil is its only remaining holding.
NII Holdings was once a regional powerhouse in the Latin American telecoms sector, but looks set to end operations once it sells this final stake. It has twice gone through bankruptcy proceedings and has weathered these by divesting smaller holdings. Nextel Mexico was sold to AT&T in 2015, while a year later NII sold its Argentinean operation to Grupo Clarin.
NII’s board and shareholders have now agreed to a process for shuttering the company once the deal is complete. Indeed, the group in fact made its majority holding in Nextel Brazil available for bidding in August 2018.
At the time, several companies were mooted as interested parties including fellow shareholder AI Brazil, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, and eventual buyer America Movil. Reuters reported in November that Telecom Italia’s board had green-lit a non-binding offer for a takeover of Nextel Brazil, but no concrete proposal followed.
America Movil’s Claro Brazil is toughing it out with Telecom Italia’s TIM Brasil for second place in the market. The acquisition of Nextel Brazil will grant it an advantage in this respect, but will not bring it much closer behind the market leader, Telefonica’s Vivo.