A joint bid of around $3.2 billion will see Oi’s major rivals divide its mobile business between themselves

Back in summer, Brazil’s Oi, having struggled under financial pressure for some time now, made plans to split off its mobile business and prepare for a sale. The company sought around 15 billion reais ($2.9 billion) for the unit, with the funds raised to be used to reduce debt and further Oi’s fibre rollout.

The announcement quickly generated interest from all three of the company’s major rivals – TIM Brasil, Telefonica Brasil, and Claro Brasil – and ultimately a joint bid from the trio was the only one registered for the business.

TIM will be taking the lion’s share of Oi’s assets, taking on 40% of Oi’s customers (around 14.5 million people), over half of the company’s spectrum allocation (49 MHz), and 49% of its mobile sites (around 7,200 locations). Accordingly, it paid the largest portion of the bid, around 7.3 billion reai ($1.44 billion).

Telefonica paid around 5.5 billion reai ($1.08 billion), gaining 10.5 million customers, 43 MHz of spectrum, and 2,700 mobile sites. Meanwhile, Claro’s 3.6 billion reai ($710 million) gained the company around 11.6 million customers and 4,700 mobile sites, but no spectrum.

These pieces of the pie were carved out with national regulations in mind; TIM, with the smallest current share of the market, was allowed to buy up the largest share to ensure that market competition was not jeopardised.

With expensive 5G to rollout throughout the country, especially with an even further delayed spectrum auction, this purchase will provide a major boost to the three operators.

The deal will require regulatory approval from both the national regulator and the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, and is expected to close in 2021.


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