US-based NII Holdings has agreed to sell its Nextel Argentina unit to private equity duo Kingsley Capital and Optimum Capital for an undisclosed fee, Cronista.com reports. The latter company was previously involved in August 2014’s consortium-led buyout of Nextel Chile, which was subsequently sold on to UK-based investment fund Novator in January 2015.
In related news, the online journal reports that the new investors are also attempting to take control of the 3G and 4G-suitable spectrum tentatively assigned to Grupo Uno-backed Arlink in last year’s multi-band spectrum auction. Although Arlink was approved to participate in the bidding process, no formal announcements regarding its spectrum allocation were forthcoming, casting major doubts over its status.
Quoting sources close to the regulator, Cronista now suggests that Arlink was unable to raise sufficient funding to pay for its desired spectrum, but the authorities opted to keep the development under wraps in order to ensure the success of the auction. In a further twist, the website suggests that Arlink was used as a ‘pawn’ to prevent the participation of media conglomerate Grupo Clarin in the auction; Clarin has been at loggerheads with the government since 2008 and the increasingly bitter feud continues to rumble on.