Telefónica denies involvement in Tim Brasil breakup plan

Telefónica denied a report that it is planning to set up a joint vehicle to buy and then break up Tim Brasil together with local rivals América Móvil and Oi.

Although Telefónica said it does not normally comment on speculative articles and news in the media, it was responding to a request for further information from Spain's stock market regulator Consob. The original report in Il Sole 24 Ore drove Telecom Italia's share price to a three-month high, with shares rising 7.5 per cent.

"Telefónica would like to clarify that it is not part to any such vehicle and it has no details of any kind on any such potential transaction to disclose to the public for market evaluation," the operator said in a statement.

Telecom Italia had previously issued a statement saying that it is "not aware of any offer for Tim Brasil" and reiterated that it regards its Brazilian unit as a strategic asset. The Tim Brasil unit has a market value of about $13 billion (€9.58 billion).

Telefónica added that it has not contacted Brazilian competition watchdog Cade about such a potential transaction, and said all recent contact with Cade was related to Cade's concerns about Telefónica's growing influence over Telecom Italia and the resulting impact on the Brazilian market, where the two operators are competitors.

Telefónica is under some pressure in Brazil following its move to increase its influence over Telecom Italia via the Telco shareholder vehicle, which holds 22.4 per cent of the Italian operator. Cade last month told Telefónica it must exit its direct and indirect stake in Tim Brasil or reduce its stake in Vivo.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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