Goldman, Credit Suisse Said to Work With GVT on Sale Process

Aug 16, 2014 1:52 pm ET

(Updates with reported Telecom Italia plan to bid for GVT in sixth paragraph.)

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG are working as financial advisers for Brazilian Internet provider GVT on its potential sale, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Discussions have been under way for more than two months, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Telecom Italia SpA said this week it’s considering proposing an alliance with GVT’s parent company Vivendi SA that would involve merging the companies’ Brazilian units, an offer that would compete with Telefonica SA’s bid for GVT.

Vivendi’s landline Internet and phone customers offer a way for both Telecom Italia and Telefonica to expand in Brazil, where they’re already the two biggest mobile-phone companies. Telefonica also owns a minority stake in Telecom Italia, an investment that has drawn scrutiny from regulators, prompting the Madrid-based company to study transactions that would satisfy Brazilian antitrust requirements.

Telecom Italia said this week it is studying whether to suggest an “industrial combination” to Paris-based Vivendi, including joining the Milan-based company’s Tim Participacoes SA with GVT. It said no offer has been finalized or made. Bloomberg News reported last week that Telecom Italia had approached Vivendi.

Merger Talks

Talks have taken place between Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Marco Patuano and Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollore, two people with knowledge of the matter have said. The talks were already under way before Telefonica offered to buy GVT for 6.7 billion euros ($8.96 billion) this month.

Telecom Italia will offer to merge Tim and GVT, giving Vivendi an unspecified stake in the combined business plus a 20 percent stake in Telecom Italia, a deal valued at as much as 7 billion euros, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported today, without saying how it got the information.

Press representatives for GVT, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse declined to comment yesterday. Vivendi hasn’t hired any banks, a spokesman said.

--With assistance from Christiana Sciaudone and Vanessa Dezem in Sao Paulo and Amy Thomson in London.