Altice is offering 7 billion euros to buy Portugal Telecom. Vodafone and Telefónica also interested

by bold-lichterman

The parent company of Numericable, the cable operator Altice, announced on November 3 that it was offering more than 7 billion euros to the Brazilian operator Oi for the acquisition of Portugal Telecom (PT). Exact amount of the offer: 7.025 billion euros, financed entirely by debt and by existing cash, the group says. The offer covers all activities except those on the African continent, and does not include the debt of Rioforte (Espirito group) close to bankruptcy. In 2013, PT generated a net profit of 331 million euros (+ 46.6%), despite a turnover down 5.4% to 2.91 billion euros.

Altice – whose main shareholder is Frenchman Patrick Drahi – began negotiations with Oi a month ago. Its managing director, Dexter Goei, promised, on Friday during an interview with the Portuguese newspaper Diario Economico, the creation of some 4,000 jobs following the relocation to Portugal of part of the group’s call centers. Already present in Portugal, Altice acquired the Portuguese cable operator Cabovisao in 2012 and then the telecommunications company for Oni companies the following year.

Several other candidates for the acquisition of Portugal Telecom

The French group is not the only one on this point. British telecom operators Vodafone and Spanish Telefónica, as well as British investment fund Apax Partners are also reportedly targeting Portugal Telecom.

As a reminder, if this sale takes place it would mark the end of the current merger operation between Oi and Portugal Telecom, the aim of which was to create a giant in the Portuguese-speaking telecommunications market. An operation compromised since PT granted a loan of 897 million euros to Rioforte, causing trouble in its relations with Oi. Portuguese shareholders had been forced to agree to lower their stake in the future entity from 38% to 25.6%. In fact, Portugal Telecom’s assets have already been absorbed by its Brazilian partner in May, on the occasion of a capital increase in Oi, and the operator’s results have been consolidated in Oi’s accounts since second quarter 2014.

In France, Altice bought SFR in the spring and got the green light from the Competition Authority a week ago. For this project, Numericable let it be known on October 29 that it is seeking to raise 4.7 billion euros.

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