BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ The government's 30 percent stake in the phone company ENTel will be offered to investors early next year for $400 million to $600 million, a financial analyst said Tuesday.

The stock offering will be the biggest in Argentine history, said Enrique Ruete Aguirre, chief executive officer of the Roberts Group that advised the government on the ENTel sale.

Earlier this month, the Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTel) was broken into two regional companies and privatized.

European and U.S. investors agreed to pay a combined down payment of $214 million cash and $380 million in notes for 60 percent of ENTel.

They also agreed to retire $5 billion of Argentine foreign debt worth about $750 million on secondary markets.

Of the 30 percent to be sold, 5 percent will be offered first to Argentina's 200 rural telephone cooperatives.

The remaining stock - and any of the 5 percent unsold - will go on sale in Argentina and New York next April or May, Ruete said. It initially will be offered for over-the-counter trading, Ruete said, before applying to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.