Telefonica Said to Seek Sale of Argentine TV Broadcaster Telefeby
Phone carrier disposing of non-core assets under new chairman
Spanish company is working to raise cash to reduce debt
Telefonica SA, the largest European telecom operator in Latin America, plans to sell its Argentine television broadcaster Telefe amid a push to raise cash, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Telefonica put together sales materials for the free-to-air broadcaster and has had contact with potential buyers, one of the people said. Time Warner Inc.’s Turner division is among the companies that have approached Telefonica but no solid offers have been made, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public.
Turner was interested in Telefe and valued it at around $400 million, Argentine newspaper Diario BAE reported in March.
Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, who became Telefonica’s chairman and chief executive officer in April, is looking for ways to raise cash to meet debt targets. The Madrid-based carrier planned to cut debt with proceeds from a 10.3 billion pound ($15 billion) sale of its British unit, before the deal was blocked by European Union regulators last month.
Telefonica weighed a sale because Telefe isn’t a core business, according to the people.
The network, acquired by Telefonica in 1998, is the largest broadcaster in Argentina by audience and one of the biggest content producers in Latin America. It is also the only free-to-air broadcaster owned by Telefonica, a leftover from its push into media in the late 1990s.
Representatives of Telefonica and Turner declined to comment.