SAO PAULO, July 22 (Reuters) - Highline do Brasil, a
portfolio company of U.S. private equity firm Digital Colony,
has presented the best offer for the mobile assets of Brazilian
telecom Oi SA and the two parties are entering
exclusive negotiations, Oi said on Wednesday.
Oi did not disclose the value of the offer, but said in a
securities filing the offer exceeded the minimum established by
the Brazilian telecom of 15 billion reais ($2.93 billion).
Digital Colony, backed by U.S. real estate investor Thomas
Barrack and Digital Bridge Holdings, is focused on investing in
digital infrastructure in Canada, Latin America and Europe.
Reuters, citing two sources, had reported earlier on
Wednesday that Digital Colony had submitted a bid. The sources
said Digital Colony is interested in Oi's mobile infrastructure
assets, not necessarily in providing telecom services directly
Digital Colony could seek partnerships with other telecoms
players to provide them with services using its infrastructure,
which could also involve further asset sales down the road, one
of the sources said.
The private equity firm, which has some $20 billion in
assets under management, is already talking to one such
potential partner, Brazil's fifth largest carrier, Algar
Telecom, about a potential deal, they said.
Algar said in a securities filing it is constantly
evaluating potential acquisitions and partnerships which may add
value to its business.
Highline also delivered a binding proposal to acquire Oi's
cellular tower unit for 1.08 billion reais on Friday.
Besides Digital Colony, existing operators TIM Participacoes
, Telefonica Brasil SA and America Movil
SAB de CV's Claro submitted a joint bid for Oi's
Oi intends to use the asset sale proceeds to fund its
growing broadband fiber unit and pay off debt as part of its
effort to emerge from bankruptcy protection.
($1 = 5.11 reais)
(Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Additional reporting by Gram
Slattery; editing by Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Lincoln