Telefonica Has Several Offers for Call-Center Division Atento

Telefonica SA, Spain’s biggest phone company, said it has received several offers for the call-center unit it wants to sell to reduce debt.

Telefonica is seeking about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for the division, Atento Inversiones & Teleservicios SAU, and Bain Capital Partners LLC is among potential bidders, three people familiar with the matter said June 8.

The Madrid-based operator is now analyzing the terms and conditions of the offers, it said in a statement today. The company didn’t disclose the identity of bidders or the size of the offers. A Telefonica official declined additional comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.

Chief Executive Officer Cesar Alierta is accelerating the sale of non-core assets as the former monopoly struggles to reduce 57 billion euros of debt. Telefonica tried to sell Atento as early as 2007, and a year ago shelved plans for an initial public offering. With about 156,000 employees, about half of the company’s total, Atento generated 1.8 billion euros in 2011 revenue, compared with 62.8 billion euros reported by the parent company.

Telefonica would be willing to sell a majority stake in Atento for 750 million euros to 850 million euros, El Confidencial reported earlier today. Telefonica would sell 75 percent of Atento and keep the remaining stake for a number of years, the financial news website said.

In May, Telefonica set a target to raise at least 1.5 billion euros from asset disposals. Atento will be the biggest asset sale, Finance Chief Angel Vila said.

Telefonica rose 1.5 percent to 10.07 euros at 12:55 p.m. in Madrid, valuing the company at 45.8 billion euros.

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