Italy to invade Argentina in 2009?

14 Mar 2007

Italian incumbent telco Telecom Italia (TI) has said in a statement that it will have the opportunity to take control of wireline operator Telecom Argentina and its cellular subsidiary Telecom Personal in 2009, reports BNamericas. The situation arises out of call option rights TI holds for control of Sofora Telecommunications, the holding company that controls the Argentine telco, in which TI already holds a 50% stake. The remaining half of Sofora is held by Argentine investors Grupo Werthein (48%) and France Télécom (FT) (2%). TI’s call option will give it the chance to buy all the shares in Sofora, although analysts believe it will probably only go for the minor stake held by FT. Grupo Werthein has a similar call option for 2013, but TI has priority. At the end of 2006 Telecom Argentina was the second-placed wireline provider in the South American country, with just over four million subscribers. Telecom Personal ended last year with a shade under 8.5 million customers, placing it in third behind Movistar and CTI Móvil.