Competition regulator to analyse possible Sonae merger with NOS

  • Lusa
  • 10 November 2022

The regulator will analyse whether to give the merger a 'green light' or to oppose it, depending on whether or not it is likely to create significant impediments to effective competition.

Sonae SGPS has notified the Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) of the merger resulting from the sole control over NOS and, indirectly, NOS Comunicações, according to a notice published by the competition regulator on Wednesday.

Sonae, the parent company of the Sonae Group, controlled by Efanor Investimentos, the holding company of Belmiro de Azevedo’s heirs, operates in the food and non-food distribution, real estate, financial services, electronic communications and information technology sectors.

NOS develops electronic communications, audiovisual and information technology services.

The regulator will now analyse whether to give the merger a ‘green light’ or to oppose it, depending on whether or not it is likely to create significant impediments to effective competition in the domestic market or in a substantial part of it.

On September 28, Sonaecom ceased to be a shareholder of ZOPT, which became wholly-owned by Unitel International Holdings and Kento Holding Limited, companies then controlled by Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.

At the time, Sonaecom said it had “terminated the shareholders’ agreement that governed relations between ZOPT’s shareholders.

At the general shareholders’ meeting of ZOPT, it was decided to proceed with the amortisation of Sonaecom’s stake and the restitution of the additional payments, “in return for the delivery of shares representing 26.075% of the share capital of NOS, which are unencumbered and a cash amount”, Sonaecom said at the time.

In August 2020, following the seizure of 26.075% of NOS’ share capital, resulting from news about alleged fraudulent schemes involving Isabel dos Santos, Sonae formalised a purchase and sale agreement with BPI to buy 7.38% of the telecommunications operator, advancing at the time that when ZOPT was dissolved it would hold 33.45% of the company.

At the time, Sonaecom held 50% of the share capital of ZOPT, which in turn held a 52.15% stake in NOS.

In turn, ZOPT was owned 50% by Sonaecom and the other half by Isabel dos Santos.