Spanish govt matches STC’s Telefónica stake with 10% acquisition 


The purchase was originally decided in December 

The Spanish government’s investment fund SEPI has reached its target of acquiring a 10% stake in Telefonica, after being instructed to do so by Spanish government. 

According to a stock market filing (in Spanish), SEPI has purchased 567,016,155 shares at an average price of €4.03 per share, meaning that just under €2.3 billion was spent on the acquisition. 

The stake has been acquired in order to counter Saudi telco STC’s  9.9% stake in the company, which it acquired in September for €2.1 billion. 

STC had purchased a 4.9% stake in shares, and 5% through derivatives. To turn the latter 5% into equity, it will need the approval of the Spanish government.  

The Spanish governments prohibits the acquisition of over 10% in firms active in sectors related to public order, public security, or public health without prior authorisation. This includes major telecoms firms, such as Telefonica, which handle sensitive government data and are considered critical infrastructure.  

When this deal was first announced, the government quickly revealed that it would gradually increase its own stake in Telefonica to 10% to counter this growing foreign influence. After the government surpassed a 7% stake in Telefónica earlier this month, it requested that Carlos Ocana Orbis, currently the Director General of Real Madrid, take a seat on Telefonica’s board to represent the holding company’s interests. 

In similar news, Spanish investment company CriteriaCaixa is also looking to increase its stake in Telefónica to 10%, set to cost €600 million, according to an exclusive report from El Confidencial. The news outlet states that it has done so “in order to equalize the presence of the government in the telecommunications sector”, as its sole shareholder, la Caixa” Banking Foundation is part owned (16%) by the Spanish Government. 

It currently has a 5% stake in the telco, which it increased from 2.7% last month. The company’s president Isidro Fainé had raised concerns over Telefónica’s capital after STC’s purchase in September. 

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