Spanish government becomes largest shareholder in Telefonica

Spanish government becomes largest shareholder in Telefonica

Telefonica mobile close up.jpg

Spain’s state investment firm, Sepi, has increased its stake in the Spanish telecoms group to 5%, in a move designed to counteract Saudi Arabian incumbent stc.

Sepi increased its stake in Telefonica, a former state-run monopoly that was privatised in the late 1990s, to 3% in March. The 5% holding is valued at about €1.1 billion.

Its increase to 5% means it overtakes stc’s 4.9% shareholding.

Stc quietly became the largest shareholder in Telefonica in September 2023, with ownership of financial instruments that it give it an additional 5% economic interest on top of its 4.9% cut of the shares.

The Spanish government must approve the conversion of that 5% into shares, as Telefonica is deemed a company of national importance.

The aim of the Spanish stake is to give Telefónica “shareholding stability”, according to a filing made by Sepi in December.

Capacity first reported that the state owned investment company was aiming to achieve a 10% stake in Telefonica in November.

Stc has maintained throughout that it does not intend to acquire control or a majority stake in Telefonica, but rather sees it as a “compelling investment opportunity.”

Gift this article