Saturday
October 25, 2014

Deadline extended to September 1

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sale of Telecom Argentina to Fintech postponed

Telecom Italia said yesterday it had agreed with US investment firm Fintech to extend the deadline to complete the sale of its Telecom Argentina division until September 1. There will be no changes in the terms and conditions of the deal, which was initially expected to be finalized early in August.

Telecom Italia agreed to sell its stake in Telecom Argentina to Fintech in November 2013 for US$960 million, saying the deal was subject to approval by local regulators. Fintech will buy Telecom Argentina shares owned by the Italian phone group directly and is also buying other units of Telecom Italia that in turn hold Telecom Argentina shares — Telecom Italia International, Sofora Telecomunicaciones, Nortel Inversora and Tierra Argentea.

Telecom Italia owns 68 percent of Sofora Telecomunicaciones, the company that indirectly controls Telecom Argentina. The remaining 32 percent is owned by the powerful Werthein family, which had previously requested the federal government intervene, claiming there was an anti-trust issue because Telefónica, the other large landline provider in the country, owned a 46 percent stake in Telecom Italia.

Telefónica and Telecom hold between 90 and 95 percent of the landline phone network in Argentina and control more than 60 percent of the mobile phone market with its operators Movistar (Telefónica) and Personal (Telecom). The same situation is evident in the Internet market, in which Telefónica and Telecom hold 60 percent of the broadband market.

Herald with Reuters

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