State takeover of CANTV imminent

22 Mar 2007

Venezuela’s government will make an offer for shares in national incumbent telco CANTV next week, expecting to take a total stake of between 60% and 70% in the company, Telecommunications Minister Jesse Chacon said yesterday. He told the Reuters Latin American Investment Summit in Caracas that the government expects to delist CANTV’s American Depository Shares after taking a majority interest. Chacon said the government was awaiting approval for its move from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, expected to be granted this week. ‘Once they approve it, we will launch the takeover bid in Venezuela and in the United States,’ he said. Prior to President Hugo Chavez launching a nationalisation programme earlier this year, CANTV was owned by Verizon Communications (28.5%), Telefónica Venezuela Holding (6.9%), the government (6.6%), employees and benefit funds (6.4%), with the remaining 51.6% held publicly. The company’s shares are listed on the Caracas and New York stock exchanges. In February the government agreed to buy Verizon’s stake for USD572.2 million.

Venezuela, CANTV