Telecom Italia, Telefonica in bidding war for Vivendi's GVT

The battle over Brazil's telecoms market ratcheted up on Thursday as European competitors Telecom Italia and Telefonica made rival offers for Vivendi's Brazilian broadband unit GVT.

Telecom Italia said it had offered to buy GVT in a cash-and-share bid that values the broadband company at 7 billion euros ($9.3 billion).

Spanish rival Telefonica said it had upped a previous 6.7 billion euro bid for GVT to 7.45 billion euros, increasing the cash component of the initial offer made at the start of August.

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Vivendi, which previously tried to sell GVT in 2013, confirmed it had received the two binding offers and said its supervisory board would examine them at a meeting later in the day.

A slowdown in Brazil's mobile phone market is forcing the major players in the region to chase higher value clients through the sort of pay-TV and broadband services that GVT has pioneered in Brazil, a large cash-generating market for both Telefonica and Telecom Italia.

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On Wednesday, Brazil's No.2 telecoms operator Oi also joined the M&A scramble by announcing its was considering options for a bid for Telecom Italia's two-thirds stake in Brazilian unit TIM Participacoes.

Telecom Italia said its offer for GVT envisaged a merger between GVT and TIM Participacoes and would result in Vivendi taking a stake of around 20 percent in Italy's biggest phone company by market share.

The Italian company, which considers Brazil as core to its strategy, did not provide a detailed financial breakdown of its bid but said it was made up of 24 percent in cash and around 76 percent in shares.

Meanwhile Telefonica, fighting to consolidate its position in Latin America, said it was prepared to pay 4.66 billion euros cash - more than envisaged in its initial offer - and give Vivendi a 12 percent stake in the new group to be created in Brazil from the merger of GVT with Telefonica Brazil.

Telefonica, which is indirectly the biggest shareholder in Telecom Italia, also offered Vivendi an option to buy an 8.3 percent stake in the Italian phone company.