UPDATE 4-Oi shares suspended in setback to Portugal Telecom tie-up

jueves 27 de marzo de 2014 19:32 GYT

(Updates with suspension of share offer)

By Luciana Bruno and Leonardo Goy

RIO DE JANEIRO/BRASILIA, March 27 (Reuters) - Brazil's securities watchdog on Thursday suspended the offer of shares in telecommunications company Grupo Oi SA for up to 30 days, dealing a setback to its planned merger with Portugal Telecom.

The Securities and Exchanges Commission decision came after Oi's chief executive officer, Zeinal Bava, breached a mandatory quiet period ahead of the offer by making comment to the press.

The public offer of Oi shares is a key operation for the success of the merger of the two telcom companies.

Oi said in a statement that it would clarify the situation as soon as possible before the commission to try to resolve any irregularity so that the share offer could go ahead.

The planned combination of Oi and Portugal Telecom had taken an important step forward earlier on Thursday when shareholders of the Brazilian carrier approved a capital increase that will facilitate the merger.

Oi shareholders approved an increase of up to 14 billion reais ($6.1 billion) at a meeting in Rio de Janeiro. While analysts expected minority shareholders to challenge the plan, the vote to pass both the proposal and an asset appraisal of Portugal Telecom took only eight minutes.

Hours later, councilors at telecommunications industry watchdog Anatel gave the go-ahead for the merger, tying it up to the nonexistence of tax debts by both companies and their controlling groups. Antitrust watchdog Cade had approved the deal in January.   Continuación...