US-based NII Holdings is planning to explore strategic alternatives for its Brazilian unit, which operates under the brand name Nextel Brasil, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the unidentified sources, NII has spoken to investment banks in recent weeks about hiring a financial adviser to explore its options, including a potential sale. CEO Francisco Valim told Reuters that Nextel Brasil is often in touch with banks over financing and strategic issues, but said there are no plans to sell the company in the short term. ‘We are constantly looking for more alternatives to ramp up our ability to compete,’ Valim said, adding that the company is looking for a buyer for its towers to cut operating costs, boost profitability and free up cash.
NII Holdings emerged from bankruptcy in June this year under the control of bondholders that included Aurelius Capital Management. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the company sold its Mexican mobile business to AT&T in January for over USD1.87 billion, having earlier divested its Nextel units in Chile and Peru. Last month NII agreed a USD178 million deal to sell Nextel Argentina to local media conglomerate Grupo Clarin, but the transaction was rejected by Argentina’s telecoms regulators on the grounds that the parties had not sought the necessary approvals prior to announcing the deal.