Portugese conglomerate Sonae has launched an unsolicited USD12.8 billion bid for 100% of former state monopoly telco Portugal Telecom (PT). Sonae, headed by Portugese entrepreneur Belmiro de Azevedo, told the Financial Times yesterday that the success of its surprise offer was largely dependent on the attitude of Portugal’s government to the bid. The state holds a golden share in PT, giving it the power of veto over strategic policy decisions, and Sonae is hoping that the government abolishes these veto rights. It is also counting on PT lifting voting restrictions on shareholders who acquire more than 10% of the company. PT has private shareholders including Spain’s Telefónica and domestic bank Banco Espírito Santo, and Sonae needs to acquire at least 50% of shares to gain overall control. Sonae’s telecoms arm Sonaecom owns Optimus, Portugal’s third largest mobile phone operator, as well as fixed line provider Novis and ISP Clix.
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