Brazilian regional operator Algar Telecom and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC – which acquired a 25% stake in the Uberlandia-based telco in March 2018 – are teaming up to make an approach for cash-strapped Oi, O Globo reports. Such a move would see Algar-GIC go toe-to-toe with Telefonica Brasil (Vivo) and TIM Brasil, which have been engaged in formal discussions over a carve-up of Oi’s mobile business since March this year. Meanwhile, TeleSintese – which cites ‘market sources’ – reports that Algar and GIC are also interested in Oi’s fixed line business, which is not officially up for sale.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month Oi confirmed its intention to sell its mobile assets via a ‘competitive process’. Oi will require interested parties to submit sealed bids for 100% of its mobile unit, with a minimum price of BRL15 billion (USD2.9 billion). The mobile assets will be awarded to the bidder who offers the highest price above the minimum price, unless the second highest bid ‘provides greater legal assurances and certainty for the closing of the sale’.
Since GIC acquired its strategic stake in Algar, the added financial muscle has allowed the regional player to undertake a pair of notable acquisitions, inking deals for network assets auctioned by Brazilian state-run utility Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (CEMIG) in 2018 and then sealing the takeover of Pernambuco-based B2B operator Smart Telecomunicacoes (Smart Networks) in 2019. If a deal for Oi is tabled, it will represent Algar’s largest takeover bid by some distance.