LISBON Jan 21 The boards of Portugal's Zon
Multimedia and Optimus approved on Monday a merger to
create the country's second-largest telecoms firm, setting the
stage for tougher competition for former state monopoly Portugal
The merger plan sets a value for Zon of 1.5 times that of
Optimus, the mobile phone unit of Sonaecom, and comes
after Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos pushed for the deal
since raising her stake in Zon to 30 percent in June.
The companies said in a joint statement that synergies will
be between 350 million euros and 400 million euros.
Under the deal, Zon will increase its share capital, and
shareholders in Optimus will be granted the equivalent of 40
percent of the new, combined company.
"The merger will result in a group capable of investing and
promoting its own and the sector's competitiveness, of creating
greater shareholder value and new opportunities for employees,
clients and suppliers," the statement said.
The two companies will have combined revenues of more than
1.6 billion euros and hold around 26 percent of the Portuguese
The large scale of the company in Portugal and the likely
synergies "will allow additional resources to be allocated to
the implementation of a coherent and ambitious
internationalization strategy," the companies said.
Zon is already active in Angola and Mozambique through a 30
percent holding in Zap, the fast-growing pay-TV business
launched three years ago by Dos Santos in Angola. Dos Santos is
the daughter of Angola's president and is separately the biggest
shareholder in Angolan mobile phone company Unitel.
There are unlikely to be any obstacles to the deal because
Dos Santos and a few large, Portuguese shareholders own more
than 50 percent of Zon and Sonaecom is majority-owned by
conglomerate Sonae, which is controlled by tycoon
France Telecom has a 20 percent stake in Sonaecom.
Zon is the largest pay-TV firm in Portugal and
fourth-largest telecoms operator in terms of revenue. Optimus
ranks as Portugal's third telecoms firm after the local unit of
Vodafone Group Plc
(Reporting By Axel Bugge; Editing by Leslie Adler)