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Telefonica Denies AT&T Acquisition Rumors

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 10:09am
Andrew Berg

Telefonica today denied claims by Spanish newspaper El Mundo that said the government had denied a $93 billion bid by AT&T to acquire Telefonica. 

Citing people familiar with the matter, the El Mundo report said the Spanish government halted the sale on grounds that Telefonica was strategic to the Spanish economy. 

Telefonica denied the El Mundo report, telling Reuters that it had not received any offer or interest from AT&T. 

In buying Telefonica, AT&T would have been assuming $69 billion in debt. Telefonica has a presence in Europe and Latin America, operating in 24 countries total. As of March, Telefonica’s total number of customers amounted to 315.7 million.

Rumors and reports of this kind are bound to continue as AT&T has publicly said that it is looking overseas for new areas of growth. 

During and earnings call back in January, CEO Randall Stephenson responded to rumors that the carrier might be considering an overseas acquisition as a way to grow, saying that there were a number of ways AT&T is thinking about the opportunities in other countries. He said more overseas roaming agreements, partnerships, and even licensing platforms like its recently launched Digital Life platform are all on the table when thinking about expanding internationally. 

Shares of AT&T remained relatively flat at $36.02 in early trading this morning.

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