Multi-country Scandinavian mobile broadband operator Ice Group has received a USD70 million offer to sell its 30% shareholding in Brazil’s Nextel Holdings to AI Media Holdings (NMT) LLC (‘Access Industries’), which is an existing major shareholder in Ice Group. Subject to certain conditions, an additional USD5 million may be payable in cash. The proposal is conditional on approval from Ice Group shareholders (although major backer Rasmussengruppen and some key management shareholders have already voted in favour of the transaction). As previously reported by CommsUpdate, US-based NII Holdings recently terminated an investment agreement which would have seen Ice raise its stake in Nextel (Brazil) from 30% to 60%.
Ice Group’s Nextel sale announcement was accompanied by a proposal to de-merge its other non-Scandinavian international subsidiaries in Indonesia (Net1 Indonesia) and the Philippines (Broadband Everywhere). The proposal would see all shareholders in AINMT Holdings (currently the holding vehicle for all the group’s operating companies) converting their shares on a one-for-one basis to the listed Ice Group AS vehicle (which currently owns 38% of AINMT Holdings, with the remainder owned by Access Industries and others). Post-restructuring, Ice Group AS would own 100% of the Scandinavian business consisting of its Ice/Net1-branded operations in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, whilst the spun-off entity, Ice Group International, would be listed separately on the N:OTC stock market. The plan is subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting to be held on or around 15 June 2018.
The proposed sale and de-merger ‘will result in an improved ownership structure and more focused strategy,’ according to Ice Group’s CEO JD Fouchard.