March 11, 2020 / 3:00 AM / Updated 2 hours ago

Telefonica, TIM plan joint bid for Oi's mobile business in Brazil

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

(This March 10 story corrects to show Telefonica Brasil and TIM plan joint bid for Oi’s mobile business, not whole company)

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Telefonica Brasil SA (VIVT4.SA) and TIM Participa??es SA (TIMP3.SA) have expressed interest in negotiating a joint offer to buy the mobile unit of bankrupt Brazilian carrier Oi SA (OIBR3.SA), the two companies said on Tuesday in securities filings.

The companies informed Oi’s financial advisor Bank of America Merrill Lynch of their interest in starting negotiations for a potential acquisition of all or part of Oi’s mobile division.

If their bid is successful, the two companies would divide up Oi’s mobile business, the filings showed.

Telefonica, the Brazilian subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica SA (TEF.MC), operates Brazil’s largest wireless carrier. TIM, which is controlled by Telecom Italia SpA (TLIT.MI), said it had informed its board of directors of their approach.

Oi said in a separate filing that the move, which it described as “sounding out the market,” showed that there was market interest in its mobile operation.

In September, Reuters reported that Oi was in talks with the two firms to sell assets and avoid insolvency.

Executives from all three major carriers in Brazil - Telefonica Brasil, TIM and America Movil SAB de CV’s (AMXL.MX) Claro - said at the time they could consider a deal with Oi.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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