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$TEF:Telefonica finally agrees to buy Brazil’s Vivo for $9.8 Billion

Disclosure: Drizzt is vested in this stock.


With this deal, Telefonica paid a premium, but the value of this deal could be higher than the price paid for Vivo. The synergy of Vivo’s mobile communication with Telefonica’s fixed line business to structure a comprehensive product could increase the switch over and increase revenue.

Telefonica SA agreed to buy Portugal Telecom SGPS SA’s stake in Vivo Participacoes SA, Brazil’s largest wireless company, after raising its bid for a third time to 7.5 billion euros ($9.8 billion).

Telefonica will initially pay 4.5 billion euros in the all- cash deal, 1 billion euros at the end of the year and the rest in 2011, the company said in a statement. Separately, Portugal Telecom agreed to pay 8.44 billion reais ($4.8 billion) for 22.4 percent stake in Brazil’s biggest phone operator Telemar Norte Leste, known as Oi.

Telefonica Chairman Cesar Alierta has raised the offer by 32 percent from his initial bid in May to gain control of Vivo. Alierta wants to merge Vivo with Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo SA, or Telesp, the Spanish company’s fixed-line unit in Brazil, to ride the growth in the Latin American country as business slows at home.

“Strategically, this was clearly necessary for Telefonica and the price reflects that,” said Alberto Espelosin, who helps manage about $12 billion at Ibercaja Gestion in Zaragoza, Spain, and owns Telefonica shares.

Both companies have sought growth in Brazil as markets at home cooled. Vivo had 30 percent of Brazil’s 179 million wireless subscriptions at the end of March, according to Anatel, the country’s phone regulator. Brazil’s economy is growing at the fastest pace in more than two decades.

Portugal Telecom shares were suspended and will resume trading at 1.30 p.m. in Lisbon. Telefonica rose as much as 1.1 percent to 17.07 euros in Madrid, giving the company a market value of 77.7 billion euros.

Bigger Than Whole

Telefonica’s latest offer for Portugal Telecom’s stake in Brasilcel NV, their 50-50 venture that owns 60 percent of Vivo, is greater than the Portuguese company’s market value of 7.44 billion euros.

Telefonica on May 6 offered 5.7 billion euros for the stake. It raised the bid to 6.5 billion euros in June and in the same month increased it to 7.15 billion euros, after the two earlier offers were rejected by the company.

The third offer, which won approval from the Lisbon-based company’s investors, was blocked by the Portuguese government last month using special veto powers.

Telefonica’s bid values Vivo at more than 10 times this year’s expected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. Telefonica trades at 3.5 times estimated Ebitda.

The Portuguese government had defined Portugal Telecom’s stake in Vivo as “strategic” for the country.

Brazil Push

Telefonica, whose Brazilian unit Telesp’s first-quarter sales fell 1.4 percent in local-currency terms, needs a greater mobile-phone presence in the country.

Portugal Telecom has relied on Brazil for growth, with sales from the Latin American country rising 27 percent in the first quarter, while revenue at home fell 3.6 percent. Since 2006, Vivo has overtaken the fixed-line unit as the company’s biggest revenue contributor, accounting for half of sales in the first quarter.

For Portugal Telecom, a deal with Brazil’s Oi would let it keep a presence in the country even as it sells its Vivo stake to Telefonica. Oi, based in Rio de Janeiro, provides Internet access, mobile, fixed-line and pay-television services.

Telefonica will partly fund the Vivo transaction with a 5 billion-euro loan arranged by Citigroup Inc., people with knowledge of the deal said July 8. The company offered to pay initial interest of 65 basis points, or 0.65 percentage point, on the three-year borrowing, the people said.

The cost of insuring against losses on Telefonica bonds rose 13 basis points to 172.5, according to data provider CMA. Credit de fault swaps pay the buyers the face value in exchange for the underlying security if a borrower fails to meet its obligations, less the value of the defaulted debt.

To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Tobin in Madrid at [email protected]; Anabela Reis at [email protected]


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