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Africa's richest woman makes offer to buy 25.6% of Oi Brazilian telecom

Isabel dos Santos, surprised the market by offering € 1.2 billion by the holding Portugal Telecom SGPS; Brazilian board says proposal is 'inopportune'

15 Jui 2019    

In an offensive that surprised the market, Angolan Isabel dos Santos made a preliminary offer for the acquisition of shares of Portugal Telecom SGPS, a company in the process of merging with Oi, for a total of € 1.2 billion. The Portuguese company has 25.6% of Brazilian TV. Several hypotheses have emerged about the purpose of the richest woman in Africa with the movement.

One hypothesis is that the businesswoman wants to block the sale of Portuguese assets from Oi. In the merger with PT, the Brazilian operator incorporated the PT Portugal subsidiary, which brings these assets together. In order to raise funds for the consolidation of the telecommunications market, Oi is selling the operational PT. The Brazilian TV wants to make an offer for TIM with Vivo and Claro and tries to raise funds for it.

The move comes just days after European group Altice voiced interest in the company's assets in Portugal for about € 7 billion. Isabel is a shareholder of the Portuguese operator competitor NOS, which belongs to the Zopt holding company. The negotiations for the Portuguese assets continue and new proposals may be presented.

Offer. Terra Peregrin, controlled by Isabel, said it was willing to pay € 1.35 per share of PT, an 11% premium over Friday's trading session. The offer was conditioned on some points, such as the suspension, until the 30th day after the settlement of the offer, of the merger between PT and Oi. On Monday, Oi disclosed that the board considers "untimely" changes in agreed terms in the process .

A spokeswoman for the Angolan company told Portuguese newspapers that the offer for the shares of PT SGPS is not "hostile" and has as its objective the acquisition of a minority stake in Oi, allowing the maintenance of the Portugal Telecom group unit.

The holding company PT SGPS no longer has the assets, but has a relevant stake in Oi and the right of veto in strategic decisions. The share of PT SGPS in Oi is 25.6% and may be raised to 37.3% within six years.

The movement, according to the spokesman, was made in harmony with the objectives set out in a joint statement issued by Zopt last week. Zopt, operator of the operator NOS, announced that it entered the battle for PT to defend the "national interest".

Analysts considered the prize offered unattractive. The Association of Investors and Technical Analysts of the Capital Markets, an entity that brings together minority shareholders of PT, issued a statement in which it supports the increase of the offer to € 1.94 per share - the value corresponds to the average share price in the six months prior to the offer .

"If the offer is in fact serious and with the intentions described, the offeror should review it for the purposes of mandatory bidding, in particular by adjusting the counterpart (...). Otherwise, said offer can only be understood as a fun and strategic maneuver aimed at other interests, "the statement said.

Analysts at Itaú BBA estimate that the offer is negative for the consolidation process of the mobile telephony sector in Brazil. Shares in Portugal Telecom, Lisbon, closed up 11.83%, to € 1.36 on Monday. Oi's preferred shares rose 6.67% to R $ 1.28. / COLLABORATED BETH MOREIRA

To understand. Portugal Telecom SGPS is a holding company that is a partner of the Brazilian operator Oi, with 25.6% of the shares. The stake was originally 37.3%, but was reduced after Portugal Telecom bought 897 million in commercial paper from Rioforte, arm of the Espírito Santo Group (GES), without the knowledge of the Brazilian operator's direction and despite the economic fragility of the conglomerate , of which PT is a member. The company took default in July. In addition to having the reduced share in Oi, PT SGPS is also the "owner" of the debt left by Rioforte. As Gores, owner of Rioforte, has entered into judicial reorganization, the market finds it unlikely that the money will be recovered.

Isabel is considered a symbol of the "influence of power and wealth in Angola," according to the Financial Times. In an interview published in the diary in 2013, the Leading Business Woman of Africa, described herself as an ordinary person, who drives on her own in Luanda and faces traffic like anyone else. Her fame, however, is that of an influential business woman who has created thousands of jobs to Angolans.  "I do business."

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