Portugal Telecom hires FD to counter bid

LISBON: Portugal Telecom has drafted in Financial Dynamics to bolster its defence against rival conglomerate Sonae’s €10.7bn (£7.3bn) bid for the company.

Last Friday FD financial comms practice chairman Andrew Lorenz and MD Andrew Dowler took over PT's defence against Sonae, which is four times smaller than PT.

Sonae is using its retained Lisbon firm of two-and-a-half years Cunhavaz & Associates. But Cunhavaz & Associates said it was poised to appoint a UK City firm to help with its bid.

Although PT is listed only on the Lisbon and New York stock exchanges, the decisions of its international investors and the international media coverage will be crucial to whether Sonae's €9.50 a share bid succeeds.

Banco Espirito Santo, which with an eight per cent is PT's third largest shareholder, has already ruled out making a counter offer for the company but could back another rival bid.

The company's largest shareholder, Spanish rival Telefonica (ten per cent), is thought unlikely to pounce on PT after its £17.7bn acquisition of O2 last year (PRWeek, 4 November 2005). That deal kicked off a widely-anticipated round of consolidation in the telecoms sector.

Other shareholders in PT include Brandes Investments Partners with 8.5 per cent, Capital Group Companies with 5.5 per cent and Caixa Geral de Depositos with five per cent.

Market commentators have speculated that PT's defence would crumble if Sonae raised its offer to between €10.5 and €11 per share.

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