Zon, Optimus merger gathers momentum; owners plot overseas expansion

18 Dec 2012

The recently announced plans to merge Portuguese telcos Zon Multimedia and Optimus is progressing well, Reuters reports, citing senior personnel at each company. Angelo Pauperio, CEO of Optimus owner Sonaecom, has confirmed that his company’s board have backed the plan, including representatives of France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange), which owns a 20% stake in Sonaecom. ‘This operation was approved without reservations by Sonaecom’s board, where there are representatives from Sonae and FT-Orange. Everybody gave enthusiastic support.’ Pauperio added.

The merger is being spearheaded by Zon’s largest shareholder, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, who currently holds the two largest equity stakes in Zon through a pair of holding companies: Jadeium (18.80%) and Kento Holding (10.00%). Mario Leite Silva, who is leading dos Santos’ negotiations on the deal, suggests that the merger is likely to pave the way for an international expansion strategy for the enlarged company. He explained: ‘If the merger goes ahead it could lead to a deepening of the multinational strategy, extending it to other regions, which would allow the new company to be present, simultaneously, in complementary markets’. Although Silva provided no further details, speculation abounds that Zon/Optimus could expand to former Portuguese colonies such as Angola and Mozambique, where Zon already has a presence through pay-TV operator Zap. Separately, dos Santos already holds a prominent stake in Angolan mobile operator Unitel. dos Santos has already confirmed that her holding company Jadeium will soon be renamed Unitel International Holdings in a bid to achieve better clarity.

Mozambique, Portugal, Nos, Optimus (Clix), Optimus (Movel)