(Adds further details, background; refiled to add missing Reuters Instrument Code for CTT)
By Axel Bugge
LISBON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Portugal’s recently-privatised postal service CTT left the door open on Thursday to joining the bidding for PT Portugal, the local operating business of Portugal Telecom now owned by Brazilian group Oi , saying it was monitoring the sale process.
If CTT made a bid, to effectively reunite the two divisions of the former state post and telecommunications company after 22 years, it would be competing against two foreign offers.
Private equity firms Bain Capital and Apax Partners have made an offer valued at 7.075 billion euros ($8.82 billion) to rival a slightly lower offer valued at 7.025 billion euros from European telecoms group Altice ATCE.AS.
CTT’s statement came after a newspaper report in Brazil’s weekly Veja, saying it may make a bid.
Oi has said it might sell Portugal Telecom’s operations in Portugal after its protracted merger between Oi and Portugal Telecom has been completed. Oi’s chief executive Bayard Gontijo said on Thursday Oi was in no rush to sell as bids could improve..
CTT said that Portugal Telecom and CTT have a number of business partnerships and in order to create more growth triggers CTT “is discussing the possibility of various business ventures with potential partners in the telecommunications area”, including Portugal Telecom.
“In that context, CTT will follow the sale process of PT Portugal in order to analyse all the opportunities that make sense for the development of its businesses, that create value for its shareholders, and are of a compatible dimension,” it said.
“CTT has not made any decision about any of those opportunities,” it added.
Oi is considering selling the Portuguese assets to reduce its debt of over $18 billion and strengthen its hand in the expected consolidation of Brazil’s own telecoms industry.
But Angolan entrepreneur Isabel dos Santos has also entered the fray by making a bid for the Lisbon-listed holding company Portugal Telecom SGPS, which now holds a 25.6 percent stake in Oi, and has said she is opposed to Oi selling off PT Portugal. (Editing by Greg Mahlich)