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Largest fixed-line carrier in Brazil, Oi wants to sell mobile operation; Telecom Italia's TIM and Telefonica's Vivo want to buy it

Oi, which has been in bankruptcy recovery process since 2016, intends to sell this part of its operation later this year, but only if it receives a good offer

Claro, Oi, Tim e Vivo agreed to open TV channels for operators' customers and to give free access to news channels with information on coronavirus. Photo: Shutterstock
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  • Oi intends to approve in a new meeting with creditors a new item in the judicial reorganization plan approved in December 2017, which would include a proposal to sell the mobile phone operation;
  • Last year, Oi’s mobile operation was valued at BRL 15 billion by BTG Pactual.

This week, according to the newspapers Valor Econômico and O Estado de S.Paulo, Oi, the largest fixed-line carrier in Brazil, tested the market’s interest in its mobile operation. The company intends to sell this part of the operation later this year, but only if it receives a good offer.

Vivo (from the Spanish group Telefônica) and TIM (Telecom Italia) confirmed, through a statement to the financial advisor of the Oi group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, that they are interested in the acquisition of the operation. Claro (from América Móvil) had also expressed interest, through the press, in the acquisition of the operation.

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At the end of last year, Oi issued BRL 2.5 billion in debentures. With over $1 billion related to the sale of the 25% stake that Oi held in the Angolan mobile operator Unitel, in January this year, the company, which has undergone a bankruptcy recovery process since 2016, has gained some momentum.

Still, according to Valor, the company intends to approve in a new meeting with creditors a new item in the judicial reorganization plan approved in December 2017, which would include a proposal to sell the mobile phone operation.

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The request for a new assembly has already been approved by the Justice. Now the company needs to present a proposal for this, within a period of up to 180 days. After submitting the proposal, the company will have 60 more days to hold the meeting.

Last year, Oi’s mobile operation was valued at BRL 15 billion by BTG Pactual. If the negotiation with the other carriers continues, each one will probably retain a part of Oi’s mobile operation.