Telefónica confident of seizing control at Vivo

8 Feb 2007

Telefónica of Spain is reported to be ‘increasingly confident’ of acquiring exclusive control of Brazil’s largest mobile operator Vivo Participações (formerly Brasilcel), writes UK newspaper the Financial Times. Vivo is currently controlled by the Spanish firm and Portugal Telecom (PT), which between them hold a 63% stake in the mobile operator. However, PT is fighting a hostile takeover bid by Sonaecom, a smaller Portuguese telecoms company, and people close to the situation suggest that Sonaecom would be willing to sell PT’s Vivo stake to Telefónica if its takeover bid is successful. Moreover, PT itself is thought to be willing to offload its Brazilian asset even if it convinces its shareholders to reject Sonaecom’s advances. Either way, Telefónica is looking well placed to secure overall control. Paulo Azevedo, chief executive of Sonaecom, said Vivo’s recent performance had been ‘dreadful’, and blamed it partly on the joint ownership arrangement.

Brazil, Optimus (Clix), Telefonica