Telecom Italia (TI) has announced that it has accepted Fintech Group’s offer for the acquisition of its entire controlling interest in Telecom Argentina for USD960 million, as it seeks to slash its debt in the face of rising competition in its domestic market and the economic downturn in Europe. In a company statement, TI said that investment firm Fintech would buy the 22.7% indirect stake held by its units Telecom Italia International, Sofora Telecomunicaciones (the holding company that controls Telecom Argentina), Nortel Inversora and Tierra Argentea. The majority of the purchase price (USD750.8 million) will be paid for the 68% of the voting shares in Sofora held by TI and Telecom Italia International, while around USD100.5 million will be paid pursuant to additional agreements related to the transaction. These include an agreement to continue providing the Telecom Argentina companies technical support and other services for up to three years, and the waiver by TI of certain rights under the current shareholders’ agreement relating to Telecom Argentina with the Werthein Group, which will retain 32% of the voting shares of Sofora. Fintech has said it intends to ensure the fulfillment of the investment plans of the Telecom Argentina Group, which is focused on the development of its telecoms infrastructure and the improvement of the quality of services.