MASMOVIL poised to enter Portugal with Nowo, ONI takeover

21 Aug 2019

Spanish alternative telecoms operator Grupo MASMOVIL, which has built up its domestic business via a series of more than a dozen takeovers, is planning to enter the Portuguese market, it has been confirmed. A filing with the Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrencia, AdC) dated 19 August indicates that MASMOVIL IBERCOM and GAEA INVERSION (a company specifically incorporated for the realisation of the transaction) have sought permission to acquire Cabonitel, the holding company which controls Portuguese operators Nowo and Onitelecom (ONI).

The AdC filing clarifies that Cabonitel owns 100% of the share capital of Nowo, which in turn holds the entire share capital of ONI. These companies are owned by Cabolink, a Luxembourgish company owned by funds managed by US private equity firm KKR.

TeleGeography notes that KKR is understood to have acquired the business in 4Q18 after converting the debt it was owed into a controlling stake and had no long-term ambitions within the Portuguese telecoms sector. Previously, back in September 2015 Altice agreed to sell Cabovisao (now Nowo) and ONI to Apax France for EUR140.6 million (USD161.6 million). The deal, which was part of the EC mandate relating to Altice’s takeover of PT Portugal (MEO), closed in January 2016.