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Trio make binding offer for Oi mobile biz

Telefônica Brasil and TIM Participações, which have been circling the mobile assets of beleaguered Oi Group for some time, have come up with a "binding offer."

Claro Americas, the Brazilian operation owned by América Móvil, has thrown its hat into the ring with them.

No financial details were disclosed, but the trio requested of Oi that they have an opportunity to match any rival offer. The Brazilian carrier set a minimum price of 15 billion Brazilian real (US$2.79 billion) for its mobile assets.

According to Reuters, a second offer has indeed been slapped on the table. The identity of the second bidder remains a mystery, but two sources "with knowledge of the matter" claim it's from a "foreign strategic player with a small presence in Brazil."

Oi reportedly won't pick the winning bid based solely on price. The Group is keen to get a deal done and dusted quickly, suggesting that it will be mindful of potential regulatory and legal wrangling if redistribution of Oi mobile assets harms competition.

This might be the reason why Telefônica Brasil and TIM Participações brought Claro Americas on board.

Under the original plan hatched by the Brazilian operations of Telefônica and Telecom Italia (TIM), the idea was to divvy up Oi's mobile assets between them. A third joint-bidder presumably spreads the assets around a little more thinly if that is still the game plan.

In a separate statement, Oi said it received a BRL 1.08 billion ($200.59 million) binding offer for its tower unit from Highline do Brasil II Infraestrutura de Telecomunicações S.A.

Oi intends to use the proceeds of asset sales to help pay off debt and, eventually, exit bankruptcy protection.

Oi filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016, citing a debt load of $19 billion.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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