Ice Group completes Nextel stake sale; cellco ‘has enough cash to operate for another year’

26 Jun 2018

Scandinavian telecoms firm Ice Group has concluded the sale of its 30% stake in Nextel Holdings (chiefly comprising Nextel Brasil) to AI Media Holdings (Access Industries) for a cash consideration of USD70 million. Subject to certain conditions, an additional USD5 million may be payable in cash. The proceeds of the sale will be used to support Ice’s Norwegian business, the company notes.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Nextel’s majority shareholder – US-based NII Holdings – recently terminated an investment agreement which would have seen Ice raise its stake in Nextel Brasil from 30% to 60%. TeleGeography notes that new shareholder Access Industries was founded in 1986 by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecoms, venture capital, and real estate.

In related news, TeleSintese has reported that Nextel Brasil only has enough cash ‘to operate for another year’ and is now examining other ways of bolstering its reserves. Options are understood to include a sale of the telco’s spectrum holdings in the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz bands. The 800MHz spectrum was previously used to support the operator’s iDEN network, which was switched off last month. The news site quotes Roberto Rittes, president of Nextel, as saying: ‘We have a commitment to make the standalone business viable in the long run. We have to continue on this path. Of course, I have a commitment to shareholders and we will be monitoring the consequences of regulatory changes [in relation to spectrum caps].’