Bank not interested in PT bid

10 Feb 2006

Portuguese financial group Banco Espirito Santo (BES) has said it is not considering making a counter offer for Portugal Telecom (PT). The bank, which is one of PT’s largest shareholders with an 8.36% stake, says it is not interested in bidding against the Portuguese utility group Sonae, which has made a EUR10.7 billion bid to take over the country’s dominant telco. BES has said it may be asked to help finance a counterbid from another party, however. Spanish telco Telefónica, which holds a 10% stake in PT, has been named as one potential rival to Sonae. Sonae’s offer may well cause problems with regulators as it already has a stake in Portugal’s number three mobile operator Optimus, while PT controls the market leader TMN. The utility group says it would hope to see synergies from combining the two cellcos, but competition authorities may not welcome a merger which would reduce the number of players from three to two.

Portugal, Optimus (Movel)