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LISBON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The chairman of Portugal Telecom SGPS's (PT SGPS) shareholder assembly has proposed to the board to cancel Monday's vote to approve the sale of the company's former assets by merger partner Oi, arguing that the merger deal had become invalid.
In a letter dated Jan. 6 to which Reuters had access, Antonio Menezes Cordeiro said that a new shareholder meeting should then be called with two points on the agenda: to either end the merger with the Brazilian company or approve the sale of assets to telecoms group Altice.
Oi has earlier agreed to sell the assets to Altice for 7.4 billion euros ($8.7 billion), but the deal hinges on its approval by PT SGPS shareholders. PT SGPS is the largest single shareholder in Oi with a 25.6 percent stake.
Menezes Cordeiro said the fact that Oi agreed to sell the assets means the merger agreement is no longer valid.
Late on Wednesday, the PT board said the meeting was going ahead, and that it saw no reasons to postpone it and that only shareholders themselves could decide to suspend it.
It did warn, however, that an approval of the sale by shareholders would mean forsaking the goal of the merger with Oi agreed last year, which aimed to a create a leading global operator with some 100 million clients.
Oi now owns PT Portugal, the operating assets that belonged to PT SGPS before the merger. ($1 = 0.8476 euros) (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip, editing by Shrikesh Laxmidas)