Portuguese cableco Zon Multimedia has confirmed that it intends to merge with rival full-service telecoms provider Optimus, which is owned by Sonaecom – the communications arm of Portuguese conglomerate Sonae. According to an announcement on Zon’s website, the merger is being spearheaded by the company’s largest shareholder Angolan businesswoman, Isabel dos Santos. dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, currently holds the two largest equity stakes in Zon through a pair of holding companies: Jadeium (18.80%) and Kento Holding (10.00%); dos Santos has confirmed that Jadeium will soon be renamed Unitel International Holdings, in line with the Angolan mobile operator that she holds a 25% stake in.
A press statement released by the management of the two firms explained: ‘With a view to completing the operation, Sonaecom and Kento/Jadeium will request to the respective management teams of Optimus and Zon that, they should jointly assess the benefits and opportunity of the transaction, taking into consideration the interests of both companies. Should a positive conclusion be reached by both teams and should there be agreement on the exchange ratio for the holdings, then a merger project proposal will be presented to the respective shareholder meetings. Sonaecom and Kento/Jadeium have further agreed that they would consider an exchange ratio based on a valuation of Zon corresponding to 150% of Optimus as acceptable, whilst remaining open to consider a different exchange ratio should that be deemed more appropriate by the management teams of Optimus and Zon’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the long-denied planned merger of Zon and Optimus was given fresh credibility in September 2012 when Sonaecom deputy CEO Miguel Almeida admitted: ‘A merger between Sonaecom and Zon makes sense. We believe it is an operation which would generate value for the market and shareholders and would create a more complete and stronger operator … A year ago Zon’s structure was completely fragmented, the largest shareholder had 10%, now it has 30% and the dynamics are completely different, as can be the decision-making process’.