SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris will travel to Brazil in two weeks to persuade the government his bid is the best option to rescue Oi SA (OIBR4.SA), the carrier operating under bankruptcy protection, he told newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
The Egyptian entrepreneur said he plans to turn the company around in one year, repeating what his Orascom TMT Holding SAE (OTMT.CA) group did in 2011 in a merger with Italy’s Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA [WINVFT.UL], the report said.
Cerberus Capital Management LP and Elliot Management Corp also have had talks with Oi regarding a potential bid.
In December, Sawiris and a group of Oi creditors devised a plan to take over and capitalize the ailing carrier, which is Brazil’s fourth-largest wireless operator, with a market share of around 18 percent.
Their plan entails a $1.25 billion share offering that Sawiris and certain Oi creditors vowed to fully subscribe to if no other investors are interested.
If the Egyptian’s bid is successful, Sawiris told Folha that a recuperated Oi could be merged with TIM Participações (TIMP3.SA), Brazil’s second-largest wireless carrier, with a market share of 25.41 percent.
Rio de Janeiro-based Oi owes regulator Anatel and government lenders Banco do Brasil SA, Caixa Econômica Federal SA and BNDES a combined 20 billion reais ($6.2 billion) - making the government the carrier’s second-biggest creditor after bondholders.
Writing by Ana Mano, editing by Louise Heavens