Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) has rejected a petition by Societe Mondiale, a shareholder in Oi, to stop US hedge fund Aurelius Capital Management from inking a debt restructuring agreement with the stricken telco, Reuters reports. In doing so, however, the watchdog has agreed to open an inquiry into claims made by Societe Mondiale that Aurelius’ manoeuvres could see it breach local antitrust rules. Societe Mondiale has alleged that Aurelius holds a 17% stake in rival mobile operator Nextel Brasil, through intermediaries. A source close to the hedge fund has asserted that the Nextel stake is closer to 6%.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Oi filed the largest bankruptcy request in Brazil’s history in June 2016, after failing to reach an agreement with creditors. The filing, which covered Oi and six subsidiaries, listed BRL65.4 billion (USD20.2 billion) of debt and the company chose judicial reorganisation to preserve the value of its holdings and to continue providing services to its customers. Both China Telecom and China Mobile have been linked with a buyout of Oi in recent months.