Brazil decision goes Telecom Italia’s way

4 Aug 2004

A federal court in Brazil has turned down a request from investors association Animec to stop Telecom Italia from buying back its full stake in fixed line operator Brasil Telecom. TI sold 18% of its Brasil Telecom stake to fellow shareholder Banco Opportunity in August 2002, clearing the way for the Italian company to launch wireless services in Brazil. Under the terms of the deal TI retained the right to regain its stake in January 2004, but in the meantime Brasil Telecom announced plans to launch its own cellular service, positioning TI as a shareholder in two directly competing telcos.

Earlier this year, however, antitrust authority Cade and telecoms regulator Anatel ruled that Telecom Italia should be allowed to regain its controlling stake in the operator as long as its board members have no say in any decisions regarding wireless or long-distance services. TI and Banco Opportunity are currently involved in an arbitration process to settle their disputes relating to Brasil Telecom.