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Wednesday, Sep 25
Telecom Italia resists pressure to sell Latin ops, shares fall
- At a parliamentary hearing in Rome, Telecom Italia (TI -4.8%) reiterated his opposition to a sale of the company's Brazilian and Argentine assets, at least over the near-term. Bernabe argued selling the units, responsible for 40% of TI's 2012 revenue, would hurt the carrier's international profile.
- TIM (TSU -4.8%), TI's Brazilian unit, is joining TI in selling off after rallying yesterday. A downgrade to Hold from Stifel could be contributing to the losses. Telecom Argentina (TEO +0.3%), in which TI owns an indirect 37% stake, is up slightly.
- Bernabe's remarks come a day after Telefonica (TEF +0.8%) announced a deal that could let it eventually take full control of holding company Telco and its 22.4% TI stake. Telefonica, whose Brazilian unit (VIV -2.9%) competes with TIM, is widely believed to be pushing TI to sell TIM to shore up its balance sheet and appease regulator Anatel (previous).
- Bloomberg reports Anatel would prefer TIM be sold in full rather than have its assets sold piecemeal. That could translate into a sale into a major foreign carrier such as Vodafone or AT&T, which in turn would spell tougher competition for Telefonica and fellow Brazilian carriers Oi (OIBR -9.6%), America Movil (AMX), and NII Holdings (NIHD +1.1%).