Itausa Said in Talks to Join Brookfield in Petrobras Unit Deal

  • Brazilian banking clan’s holding company said to seek 9% stake
  • Stake worth more than $500 million based on announced deal

The Brazilian bankers who control Latin America’s largest lender are in talks with Brookfield Asset Management Inc. to join the $5.2 billion acquisition of Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s natural gas distribution network, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Setubal and Vilella families’ Itausa - Investimentos Itau SA is negotiating to buy a stake of 7 to 9 percent in Nova Transportadora do Sudeste SA, one of the people said, declining to be named because the discussions are private. The stake would be worth as much as $520 million, considering the deal’s current valuation. Itausa declined to comment, and Petrobras didn’t reply to an e-mail seeking comment. A Brookfield representative also declined to comment.

Petrobras, the most indebted major oil producer, is shedding assets as Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente seeks to cut debt and make the company profitable again. The producer is emerging from an oil-price crash and the worst corruption scandal in Brazil’s history.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, a unit of Canada’s largest alternative asset manager, is leading the group of buyers including CIC Capital Corp. and GIC Private Ltd. that has agreed to take a 90 percent stake in Nova Transportadora.

Gas Contract

Petrobras will get $4.3 billion when the transaction closes and another $850 million in five years, with adjustments, the oil company said in October. It will secure a 20-year contract for the transport of natural gas through Nova Transportadora.

The gas distribution chain is the second asset from Petrobras to draw interest from Itausa, which controls Brazilian banking giant Itau Unibanco Holding SA. Itausa said on Nov. 1 it’s considering a takeover of the producer’s BR Distribuidora fuel unit in a joint bid with Cambuhy Investimentos and Brasil Warrant, holding companies of the Moreira Salles family that shares control of Itau Unibanco.

Alfredo Setubal, chief executive officer of Itausa, said on Nov. 17 the holding company may tap capital markets for the acquisition of BR Distribuidora.

— With assistance by Peter Millard

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