UPDATE 1-Altice wants exclusive talks with Oi over Portugal business-sources

jueves 9 de octubre de 2014 13:02 GYT

(Adds details, background)

By Sergio Goncalves and Leila Abboud

LISBON/PARIS Oct 9 (Reuters) - Altice, a holding company backed by billionaire cable entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, wants to enter into exclusive talks with Brazil's Oi to buy its Portuguese telecoms operation, sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

Altice believes it can move quickly toward a deal, which is likely to value the Portugal business at between 6 billion euros ($7.6 billion) and 6.5 billion, according to the sources.

A deal would build on a recent acquisition spree by Altice, whose Numericable unit in April clinched the multi-billion euro purchase of France's second-largest mobile operator SFR from Vivendi SA.

The sale would also mark the effective unwinding of Oi's purchase of Portugal Telecom, unveiled in December 2013, that was supposed to create a stronger company with a strengthened balance sheet.

Instead, the merger has been rocked by fallout from a banking scandal in Portugal that weakened Portugal Telecom, leaving the combined company deep in debt and struggling in a consolidating Brazilian market.

Oi Chief Executive Zeinal Bava resigned on Tuesday, a day after the company disclosed it was studying asset disposals, such as its stake in Africatel Holdings BV, to pay down its debt.

Oi has yet to make a decision on a disposal of its Portuguese assets and hasn't received any proposal for them, it said on Monday.   Continuación...