Financially stricken Brazilian telecoms operator Oi has confirmed that it has granted domestic tower operator Highline do Brasil II Infraestrutura de Telecomunicacoes (Highline) exclusivity in negotiations over the sale of its mobile business, after the infrastructure firm submitted ‘the best binding offer above the minimum price established’ for the assets. The exclusivity period expires on 3 August, but can be extended. The bid was submitted via Oi’s financial advisor, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA), and positions Highline ahead of the consortium comprising Oi’s domestic rivals Claro Brasil, Telefonica Brasil (Vivo) and TIM Brasil. While the respective bids have not been disclosed, Oi is known to value its mobile business at BRL15 billion (USD2.9 billion). Oi has indicated that 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’.
The bid comes just days after Highline submitted a ‘binding, irrevocable and irreversible offer’ for Oi’s tower business. Highline offered Oi BRL1.077 billion for a special purpose vehicle comprising Oi’s outdoor and indoor radiofrequency transmission sites, a figure which is in line with Oi’s BRL1 billion valuation of its cell towers and associated assets. That ballpark figure was disclosed in an ‘Amendment to the Judicial Reorganisation Plan’ published by the cash-strapped telco on 15 June.
Founded in 2012, Highline has a portfolio of wireless infrastructure assets, including macro towers, which spans all the major urban, suburban, and rural areas of Brazil. The company counts all of Brazil’s major mobile network operators, including TIM Brasil, Vivo, Claro and Oi as its customers. Highline was acquired by Digital Colony Management – the US-based digital infrastructure investment platform of Colony Capital – from Patria Investments in December 2019. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Digital Colony had been expected to team up with regional telco Algar Telecom to submit an offer for Oi’s mobile unit.