(Adds details of bankruptcy protection process)
By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO, July 8 (Reuters) - Alvarez & Marsal, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche are pursuing a mandate to administer the bankruptcy protection process for Brazilian telecommunications group Oi SA, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Oi filed last month for court protection from creditors on 65.4 billion real ($19.9 billion) of bonds, bank debt and operating liabilities, Brazil’s biggest filing ever of its kind.
The judge in charge of the case has asked telecom watchdog Anatel to propose candidates for the role, and on Friday the regulator extended the deadline for applications to July 11.
The Oi saga took another twist on Friday when a minority investor called for the replacement of most of its board, underscoring deep divisions among major shareholders that derailed recent negotiations with creditors.
Alvarez & Marsal submitted a formal bid with Anatel on Friday and received confirmation from the regulator that the bid was received, said a third source with direct knowledge of the matter. The timing of the Price and Deloitte bids is unclear.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has little experience with court-administration services in Brazilian bankruptcies. However, “a case like Oi could be a good opportunity to debut,” said one of the sources.
KPMG was also expected to bid for a mandate, but it has worked as Oi’s external auditor, which the sources said may present a conflict of interest.
Deloitte has acted as external auditor of Portugal Telecom SGPS, which merged in 2013 with Oi. Deloitte was later replaced by KPMG, according to regulatory filings from Portugal Telecom.
A court administrator is entitled to a fee equivalent to as much as 5.0 percent of the debt being restructured under Brazilian bankruptcy law. The job of court-appointed administrator is to process and organize information in the case for the judge.
Given the unprecedented scale of the Oi case, there has been speculation that the Judge Fernando Viana, who is overseing Oi’s bankruptcy, could appoint two court-administrators, the sources said.
Alvarez, Price, Deloitte and KPMG declined requests for comment.
$1 = 3.29 Brazilian reais Reporting by Ana Mano; Additional reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Chris Reese