Telecom Italia may win back BRP stake

Bnamericas Published: Monday, May 17, 2004
Brazil's antitrust authority Cade may overturn a March ruling and allow Telecom Italia (NYSE: TI) to retake its full 38% stake in local telecoms operator Brasil Telecom Participações (NYSE: BRP), local magazine Istoé Dinheiro reported. Cade may reverse its unanimous ruling in March and allow Telecom Italia back into Brasil Telecom after receiving supporting reports from telecoms regulator Anatel and the federal government's public ministry. The overarching antitrust council is waiting for reports from the justice ministry's antitrust department SDE and the economy ministry's unit Seae before taking a new decision, according to the magazine. In March, Cade's board unanimously backed a petition brought by Brasil Telecom Minority shareholders, which prevented Telecom Italia from recouping 19% of Brasil Telecom's shares that were temporarily transferred to other investors. At the time, the antitrust board agreed that Telecom Italia should not retake its stake in Brasil Telecom because its own mobile unit, TIM, would gain an unfair insight into the the mobile unit of Brasil Telecom, scheduled to be launched commercially in June or July. In order to launch its Brazilian mobile operations in 2003, local rules requiring a company to own less than 20% of a rival operator obliged Telecom Italia to temporarily transfer about half of its shares in Brasil Telecom to funds controlled by former partner and current rival Banco Opportunity. Earlier this year, Anatel ruled that Brasil Telecom had met build out goals and that Telecom Italia could retake its shares in the operator.

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