TI may reconsider Argentine unit sale if approval delayed further

8 Sep 2014

Telecom Italia (TI) could reconsider the planned sale of its Argentine unit if Buenos Aires takes too long to approve the transaction, Reuters reports, citing the Italian firm’s chief executive Marco Patuano. Last November the TI agreed to sell its entire controlling interest in Telecom Argentina to Mexican billionaire David Martinez’s investment company Fintech for USD960 million, as it seeks to cut its debt in the face of rising competition in its domestic market and the economic downturn in Europe. Last month, TI agreed to extend the date to complete the sale from 12 August to 1 September, but the firm has now set 25 September as the deadline to obtain regulatory approval for the purchase of Telecom Argentina. Speaking to reporters at the Ambrosetti forum meeting in Cernobbio near Milan, Patuano said the financial crisis in Argentina had held up approval and said that the deal could collapse if the government took too long to clear it. ‘The sale was supposed to be completed in the summer when the country went through a major crisis and it’s normal that it wasn’t the main focus of attention for the authorities. But we can’t put it off indefinitely and in that case [we] would reconsider’, he said, without giving further details.

Argentina, Telecom Argentina (incl. Cablevision), Telecom Italia (TIM)