LISBON (Reuters) - Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s president, launched a takeover bid for Portugal Telecom at 1.35 euros per share on Sunday in an attempt to thwart a 7 billion-euro ($8.73 billion) bid for the Portuguese company’s assets.
Dos Santos’ Portuguese-registered company Terra Peregrin said in a statement published on the website of Portugal’s CMVM market regulator that the success of the offer depended on acquiring more than 50 percent of Portugal Telecom shares.
The offer represents an 11 percent premium to Portugal Telecom’s closing price on Friday of 1.2170 euros a share.
The only remaining assets held by Portugal Telecom after its merger with Brazil’s Oi this year are its 25.7 percent stake in Oi and 900 million euros of defaulted debt by Rioforte, a bankrupt holding company of the Espirito Santo family. PT’s operations are owned by Oi.
“The end objective is the acquisition of a large, but not controlling stake in Oi, allowing to maintain the Portugal Telecom group fully intact,” said a spokesman for Dos Santos.
A week ago Altice, controlled by Franco-Israeli billionaire telecoms entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, offered to buy the Portuguese operations of Portugal Telecom from Oi for 7 billion euros.
It was not immediately clear if a holding of 25.7 percent in Oi would be enough to block the offer by Altice.
“It (Terra Peregrin) aims to maintain the big strategic lines defined by the takeover targets’ board and the objectives inherent in the agreements between PT and Oi,” Terra Peregrin said in a statement.
Dos Santos and Portuguese conglomerate Sonae control Portugal’s second-largest telecommunications operator NOS, which last week said it wanted to help keep Portugal Telecom’s assets in local hands.
The spokesman for Dos Santos said there was no previous contact with PT and Oi over the bid.
“As this is not a hostile takeover bid, we will immediately initiate contacts with the relevant entities,” he said.
Oi has said it may sell its Portuguese assets in order to pay down debts.
Its merger with PT soured this summer after the Rioforte holding company of the Espirito Santo banking family defaulted on the 900 million euros of debt owed to PT, a debt which Oi said it had not been aware of before their merger.
As a result, PT’s shareholding in Oi was sharply reduced in a revision of the merger terms, leaving PT with only 25.6 percent of Oi instead of the 38 percent previously agreed. It also led to the resignation last month of Zeinal Bava, the chief executive of the new merged company and former chief executive of PT.
Reporting by Sergio Goncalves and Axel Bugge; editing by Andrew Roche