BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s government has rejected U.S.-based Fintech Advisory’s bid to acquire a controlling stake in Telecom Italia’s Argentine subsidiary for $960 million, saying the private investment firm is not qualified to participate in the telecommunications sector, officials said.
The Aftic regulator issued the decision Thursday and it was published Friday in the Official Gazette.
The notification said the regulator blocked the proposed sale to a Fintech unit of a 68 percent stake in Sofora Telecomunicaciones, the holding company through which heavily indebted Telecom Italia indirectly controls Telecom Argentina, the parent company of a leading telecommunications group in the South American country.
Aftic found that the unit of Fintech Advisory, led by Mexican financier David Martinez, “does not meet the conditions to operate and take control of the infrastructure services of the company Telecom Argentina,” the Argentine president’s office said.
It said the regulator’s decision was based on the fact that Fintech Telecom LLC was founded in the U.S. state of Delaware less than a month before Telecom Italia accepted the bid in December 2013 and that “Telecom Argentina would end up in the hands of companies that were merely investors” if the deal were to be approved.