The shareholders of Portugal Telecom SGPS (PT SGPS), the holding company that currently claims a 39.7% direct/indirect stake in Oi SA of Brazil (source: PT SGPS website), are reportedly targeting a 20% stake in PT Portugal SGPS (PT Portugal), the firm which controls Portugal Telecom Group’s domestic assets. Following Oi’s agreement to sell the Portuguese fixed and mobile telecoms business to Altice Group of Luxembourg late last year (see below), the latter expressed a willingness to sell a minority stake to local investors to pacify the Portuguese regulatory authorities, if required. If the deal comes to fruition, it would represent a surprise twist in the Portugal Telecom Group’s long-running ownership saga, with the two disparate units aligned once more.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, on 5 May 2014 the entire share capital of PT Portugal was contributed to Oi SA by PT SGPS, as part of a capital increase related to the two parties’ ongoing CorpCo merger. However, the troubled CorpCo transaction was unravelled last year and Oi duly agreed to offload PT Portugal to Altice for EUR7.4 billion (USD9.2 billion), including a EUR500 million deferred payment related to the Portuguese business’ future performance.
Going forward, PT SGPS has called a shareholder meeting for 12 January to vote on Altice’s bid for PT Portugal. PT SGPS reportedly has the power to veto the deal with Altice, and the possible acquisition of a minority 20% stake in PT Portugal would appear to be a useful bargaining chip.