On the heels of Altice’s announced plan to purchase the Portuguese assets of Portugal Telecom (PT) from Oi of Brazil, private equity funds Apax Partners and Bain Capital jointly launched a counteroffer of €7.075 billion (US$8.82 billion) on Wednesday to acquire control of PT.
Disclosed in a filing with Brazil’s securities regulator, the Apax-Bain proposal slightly exceeds the offer of €7.025 billion (US$8.76 billion) forwarded a week ago by Altice, a Luxembourg-based cable operator that agreed earlier this year to purchase French wireless operator SFR. Both bids exclude PT businesses within Africa and PT debt which includes a defaulted €900 million loan to a unit of Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo (BES). Observers also say both offers include two sets of €400 million deferred payments that are contingent upon the performance of PT assets.
Like the Altice offer, the joint Apax-Bain bid would also unwind a planned merger of Brazilian telecommunications assets announced last December by PT and Oi, the top-ranked provider of landline telecommunications services in Brazil, and proceeds from either sale would enable Oi to pare down its debt load of US$18 billion.