UK-based Vodafone Group has reportedly contracted the services of an investment bank as it explores the possibility of acquiring a stake in Brazilian mobile operator TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil), owned by Telecom Italia (TI), O Estado de S. Paulo reports, without citing its sources. The newspaper says Vodafone has already held talks with Telefonica, a shareholder of TI, which controls TIM Participacoes, although Vodafone declined to comment on the rumour.
Earlier this year Vodafone chairman John Bond said ‘it’s unlikely, but not impossible, to see the expansion of the geographic footprint,’ although the cellco’s desire to crack the Brazilian market is a long standing one. It was as long ago as December 2007 that CommsUpdate reported Vodafone’s then CEO, Arun Sarin, as saying that Brazil was one of the company’s primary expansion priorities in the short term. In an interview with the Portuguese daily Diario Economico at the time, Sarin said it was imperative that Vodafone ‘find an adequate opportunity’ to buy into the competitive Brazilian mobile market, adding that conditions are not yet right to enter the sector as a ‘greenfield’ venture.