French media group Vivendi, which holds a strategic stake in Telecom Italia (TI), is in favour of the carrier exploring a sale of its Brazilian business TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) and focusing its attentions on Europe, company insiders have informed Bloomberg. According to unnamed Vivendi sources, chairman Vincent Bollore is keen to see TI work towards disposing of its controlling TIM Brasil stake within the next two years, before merging with an unspecified European rival in the medium term.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database TIM Brasil is the second largest wireless provider in Brazil, with a 26.5% market share as of 31 March 2015. TI’s 67% stake has previously been valued at around USD12.7 billion, and interested parties are likely to include US telco AT&T and TIM Brasil’s domestic rivals Claro, Oi and Vivo. In October 2014 the trio agreed to place a bid for – and break up – TIM Brasil, dividing its assets between them, although the plans amounted to nothing.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Vivendi is considering increasing its stake in TI to around 10%-15% once the Italian firm’s current largest shareholder – the Telco consortium – is dissolved and its members have divested their shares. Vivendi is set to inherit an 8.3% stake in TI as part of Telefonica’s acquisition of Vivendi’s Brazilian unit GVT; Telefonica agreed to divest its TI shares on competition grounds since the Italian company is also active in Brazil.