Orange sells stake in Portugal’s Optimus

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Portugese group Sonae to buy France Telecom-Orange’s 20% stake in Sonaecom for €99m

France Telecom-Orange is selling all of its 20% stake in Portuguese operator Sonaecom to parent company Sonae for just under €99 million. The price may be increased to €113 million under certain circumstances. Sonaecom runs mobile services under the Optimus brand and is believed to have about 3.6 million customers.

The deal is being undertaken because Orange has exercised a put and call option agreement with Sonae which allows it to force Sonae — a retail, shopping, leisure and property group — to buy its stake at an agreed price.

France Telecom said that its move follows its objective of disposing of its minority shareholding in Sonaecom “under terms that allow the group to benefit from the potential consolidation of the Portuguese telecommunications market”. In the past 18 months France Telecom has sold its interests in Switzerland and Austria. 

The price for the business will be higher “if Sonaecom participates in a material transaction (involving Sonaecom or its material assets) that consolidates or restructures the Portuguese telecommunications sector in the 24 months following the signature of the agreement”, said the French operator.

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