Spain's Telefonica in talks to exit Telecom Italia: report

Move could ease regulatory pressure in Brazil's wireless market

Reuters

(Reuters) - Spain's Telefonica SA is in talks to sell its stake in Telecom Italia in a move that could ease regulatory pressure in Brazil's wireless market, Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported on Friday.

Telefonica is negotiating a deal with investment funds to sell its stake in Telecom Italia, the paper reported, without saying how it obtained the information. Telefonica is left with a nearly 15 percent direct stake in the Italian company after fellow investors voted to dismantle their controlling bloc.

Representatives for Telefonica and Telecom Italia could not immediately be reached for comment.

Brazil's antitrust watchdog, Cade, has been pressing Telefonica since December to reduce its stake in Telecom Italia, whose Brazilian unit, TIM Participaçoes SA, competes directly with Telefonica Brasil.

Telefonica challenged the ruling and still has nearly a year to resolve the regulatory issue. Pressure from Cade has contributed to speculation that Telefonica was preparing a joint bid to break up TIM Brasil, which all companies involved have denied.

(Reporting by Brad Haynes, Leila Abboud and Francesca Landini; Editing by Steve Orlofky)

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