Portugal Telecom (PT) and Optimus have both declared that they are not interested in purchasing Portuguese cableco Cabovisao, which was put up for sale by Canada’s Cogeco last week. Speaking at the 21st Congress of the Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications (APDC), Optimus CEO Miguel Almeida and PT president Zeinal Bava both declared that their respective strategies centred on ‘organic growth’, rather than consolidation. Both companies already have a presence in the Portuguese broadband sector, with Optimus’s parent company Sonaecom an established access provider in its own right. Last week, prior to Cogeco’s announcement that it had placed Cabovisao up for sale, the Portuguese firm’s managing director Martinho Tojo told Bloomberg that consolidation within the domestic telecoms market was ‘inevitable’, describing it as an ‘an issue our shareholders should have on the table at all times’. However, the refusal of both PT and Optimus to be drawn into the sales process is likely to come as something of a blow to Cogeco. Vodafone, the third main player in the Portuguese wireless sector, has yet to state its position, and could still make a move for Cabovisao and increase its limited share of the fixed broadband spoils.
Last week TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Cogeco had contacted a number of Portuguese and international telecoms operators and private equity funds with a view to offloading Cabovisao, its wholly-owned subsidiary. Negotiations with unnamed parties were already said to be underway, although no price had yet been set. Back in June 2006 Cogeco acquired Cabovisao from fellow Canadian operator Cable Satisfaction International Inc (CSII) for EUR465 million (USD600 million), but Cogeco has endured a torrid time in Portugal since entering the market.