Telefonica sells 2.5% stake in Unicom

12 Nov 2014

Spain's Telefonica has sold a 2.5% stake in China Unicom for around $859 million, to help fund acquisitions closer to its home market.

Telefonica's stake in China Unicom has now been halved to 2.5%, Finance Asiareported, with the shares being acquired by existing and new investors.

The shares were sold at HK$11.14 ($1.44) apiece, a 3% discount to the last trading price prior to the transactions.

Unicom shares have been underperforming this year compared to rivals China Telecom and China Mobile, but have been on an upswing since late last month and are considered undervalued by some investors.

Unicom's decision not to spend heavily on LTE rollouts, preferring to overlay its 3G network with 4G hotspots, could be a financial advantage in the short-term.

The company is also set to benefit from the government's recent decision to establish a state-owned tower company serving the three operators.

China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile will spend a combined 10 billion yuan ($1.63 billion) to establish the JV which will will manage the construction, maintenance and operation of telecom towers and supporting facilities for the three operators.

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