Argentina’s telecoms regulator the Autoridad Federal de Tecnologias de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones (AFTIC) has formally rejected the sale of a 68% stake in Sofora Telecomunicaciones, which holds a prominent indirect stake in Telecom Argentina, by its affiliate Fintech Telecom. The decision was based on Fintech’s failure to adhere to the requirements of Decree 62/90 and 764/2000, the watchdog has confirmed. AFTIC claims that Fintech has not demonstrated sufficient experience and expertise to take control of Telecom Argentina’s infrastructure, and made it clear that it does not want the telco to be solely controlled by investment companies, following the 2013 departure of strategic shareholder Telecom Italia (TI).
On 13 November 2013 TI announced that it had sold its entire stake in Telecom Argentina to Fintech Group for USD960 million. Under the terms of the deal, investment firm Fintech bought the 22.7% indirect stake held by TI’s units Telecom Italia International, Sofora, Nortel Inversora and Tierra Argentea. The majority of the purchase price (USD750.8 million) was spent on the 68% voting stake in Sofora held by TI and Telecom Italia International.