Spain: Back Home, Telefonica Is Still A Titan

Burned in Brazil, the phone giant is grabbing share in Spain

For Telefonica Chairman Juan Villalonga, the timing could hardly have been worse. In late July, Villalonga led Spain's former phone monopoly into Brazil and blew away other bidders with a $7 billion cash offer for controlling stakes in the jewels of Brazil's national phone system, including Sao Paulo's network. Although critics charged that he had paid too much for them, Villalonga stuck by his strategy. "There is only one global operator in the telecommunications market in Latin America, which is Telefonica, and the rest are far behind," he announced.

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