Luxembourg-based cable group Altice S.A. announced on Monday that it has offered US$8.8 billion to acquire the Portuguese assets of Portugal Telecom (PT) from Oi of Brazil.
Following on Altice’s agreement earlier this year to acquire French wireless operator SFR, the binding offer has the potential to transform Altice into a major player against Vodafone in the Portuguese telecommunications market. If accepted by the Oi board, and if approved by regulators, the deal would enable Altice to bundle PT’s fixed and mobile phone services with the video offerings of Portuguese cable operators Cabovisao and Oni, both of which are owned by Altice. Observers also say the proposed deal would unwind a merger of Brazilian telecommunications assets announced last December by PT and Oi, the top-ranked provider of landline telecommunications services in Brazil.
The offer, to be financed with new debt and existing Altice cash, encompasses existing businesses of PT outside of Africa but excludes certain PT debt securities and OI treasury shares. An Oi spokesman, meanwhile, noted that board members had received the Altice offer and were evaluating the proposal.