UPDATE 2-Telecom Italia to sell Telecom Argentina stake for $960 mln

Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:38am EST

MILAN Nov 14 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its entire stake in Telecom Argentina to Fintech Group for $960 million.

The Italian telecoms group was in talks with the investment fund to sell its 22.7 stake in Telecom Argentina, as part of a new strategy aimed at raising 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) to avoid a credit downgrade and revive its business.

Telecom Italia said in a statement that the sale was not expected to have a significant impact on its consolidated net debt.

Fintech will buy Telecom Argentina shares owned by the Italian phone group directly and is buying into some units of Telecom Italia that also hold Telecom Argentina shares - Telecom Italia International, Sofora Telecomunicaciones, Nortel Inversora and Tierra Argentea.

Fintech plans to launch a tender offer for remaining shares in Telecom Argentina and Nortel to the extent required by law just before the closing of the Sofora share sale, it said.

Fintech is owned by Mexico's David Martinez.

"We see tremendous opportunities for growth in the Argentine market and we will pursue a major investment program to take advantage of them," Martinez said in a statement.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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