| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Feb 9 A Cerberus Capital Management
LP-led group of investors plans to unveil an alternative
in-court restructuring proposal for debt-laden Brazilian phone
carrier Oi SA as early as next month, right after
finalizing due diligence procedures, a person with direct
knowledge of the plan said on Friday.
New York-based Cerberus is still gauging the size
of Oi's future equity needs and how the carrier's creditors will
have to be compensated, said the person, who asked for anonymity
because the process is underway. Oi filed for Brazil's
largest-ever bankruptcy protection in June.
Cerberus, which specializes in private equity and distressed
debt investments, could still arrange partners to advance on the
Oi proposal should the company's shareholders and bondholders
agree to discuss it, the person added. Oi's shareholders and
creditors are locked in a battle for control of Brazil's No. 4
wireless carrier, which is saddled with 65.4 billion reais ($21
billion) of debt.
The media office of Cerberus declined to comment. Reuters
reported Cerberus' interest in Oi on Dec. 6.
Oi did not immediately comment.
Cerberus is the only potential bidder that has formally
undertaken due diligence procedures, because it is has not
partnered with Oi's creditors, the person said.
Billionaire Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp recently
made an informal proposal committing to invest around $3 billion
into Oi. The board of Oi recently shunned Elliott's proposal and
another put forward by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris and a
group of Oi bondholders led by Moelis & Co.
Common shares of Oi rose 2.9 percent to 3.74 reais on
Friday, extending gains to 47 percent this year.
($1 = 3.1150 reais)
(Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Meredith Mazzilli)