Can Colombia sell its stake in Movistar at the second attempt?

 Can Colombia sell its stake in Movistar at the second attempt?

According to reports in a number of Latin American press outlets, Colombia is making another attempt to sell its stake in Movistar, the local subsidiary of Telefónica.

The Ministry of Finance currently owns the 32.5 percent stake and a sale was attempted two years ago, but no offers were received at the time.

Using an economic emergency decree that gives the authorities the green light to dispose of non-strategic assets, the government will now try again.

It seems that, as far back as 2006, the state put 50 percent of the shares it had in the then Colombia Telecomunicaciones (Coltel) into play. Telefónica bought that percentage and added to it. The state kept 32.5 percent but eventually tried to sell its share. It received no offers.

Not only was Telefonica not interested but its ongoing plan is to sell off its Latin American business, except for Brazil, seen as a strategic market for the company. The question now is how and to whom the state can sell its 32.5 percent and whether the buyer will want to take on Telefonica’s share as well.

Telefonica Colombia (also known as Colombia Telecomunicaciones SA ESP or Coltel) is a major player in the Colombian telecommunications market, following the merger of Coltel (former Telecom Colombia ) and Movistar Colombia in 2012. It operates in Colombia under the trademark Movistar. Its interests include fixed, mobile and broadband communications and digital satellite TV.

 

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