Telefonica shares rise in spite of denials about AT&T bid interest

City A.M. Reporter
TELEFONICA was yesterday forced to deny reports of interest from AT&T, following a Spanish newspaper story that the government had halted a €70bn (£44.6bn) offer from the US company.

An AT&T representative told the government about the company’s plans to buy Telefonica and take on its €52bn of debt, leading the state to stop the sale, El Mundo said yesterday, citing sources with knowledge of the deal.

“Telefonica has not received any approach or spoken or written indication of interest,” a spokesman for Telefonica said.

The government has mechanisms to block the sale of any company deemed strategic to the national economy, El Mundo said.

Despite the firm’s denials, Telefonica’s shares rose 2.4 per cent yesterday, to €10.27.