UPDATE 1-Mexico's America Movil eyes acquisition of Brazil rival Oi -Valor

miércoles 21 de septiembre de 2016 11:37 GYT

(Adds comments from spokeswoman and analyst, share reaction)

SAO PAULO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - America Movil SAB is interested in acquiring some or all of the operations run by struggling Brazilian rival Oi SA, the chief executive of the Mexican telecom giant said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.

Brazilian paper Valor Economico reported that Daniel Hajj, CEO of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's telecom empire, said he was eyeing an acquisition of Oi operations whether or not the company is split up in the midst of an in-court restructuring.

"We are open to looking at anything," Hajj said in the Valor report. "I am very interested in participating in the (market)consolidation in Brazil, but I don't know how it will happen."

Oi's preferred shares rose 8 percent in early trading, while America Movil advanced 1 percent.

Hajj's remarks renewed speculation about merger activity in Brazil's telecommunications market, where four major rivals have struggled to maintain profits in a deep recession while keeping up costly investments in new broadband technology.

Telecom Italia SpA engaged Oi in merger talks early this year, but new management in Italy has shown less interest in dealmaking. America Movil and Spain's Telefonica SA never ruled out a deal with Oi, but their scale in Brazil mean tough antitrust hurdles for an outright takeover.

A spokeswoman for America Movil confirmed Hajj's comments, adding that "when we know what is up for sale and what are the conditions, we will evaluate the case." Oi declined to comment.

Any dealmaking is expected to hinge on cooperation from the government, Oi's second-biggest creditor, which is reviewing onerous fixed-line concessions and keeping a close eye on licensing and antitrust issues that are key to consolidation.   Continuación...