Telefonica Sells China Unicom Stake Valued at Up to $367 Million

  • Stock is being offered at HK$7.75 to HK$7.85 each in the sale
  • The sale is said to have demand for all stock on offer

Telefonica SA, facing roadblocks in the planned sales of its assets following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, is paring a stake in China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. to raise as much as $367 million.

The sale of 361.8 million shares began today and the stock is being offered at HK$7.75 to HK$7.85 apiece, according to terms of the deal seen by Bloomberg News. The deal has demand for all the stock on offer, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named while the transaction is underway.

Telefonica risks having its credit rating cut if the carrier doesn’t come up with a clear way to reduce debt by year end, Moody’s Corp. analyst Carlos Winzer said last month. Telefonica shelved plans to sell a stake in its U.K. wireless carrier O2 amid market volatility following the country’s referendum. The firm also delayed a listing of its Spanish infrastructure unit Telxius, people familiar with the matter had said.

Bank of America Corp. is managing the sale of shares in a rare weekend deal. A spokesman for Telefonica declined to comment.

Since the referendum, Telefonica has declined 7.9 percent, underperforming the Stoxx 600 Telecommunications Index of European companies. Telefonica needs to raise about 14 billion euros ($15.5 billion) to achieve its target of a ratio for reported net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 2.35, according to Winzer.