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Telefónica acquires a further 2.2pc of China Netcom Group

21 January 2008

MADRID – Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica said Friday it had agreed to acquire an additional 2.22 percent stake in the Hong-King-listed Chinese telephone company China Netcom Group for EUR 309 million.

In a statement to the National Securities Commission, Telefónica said the purchase, which is subject to regulatory approval, will increase its holding in China Netcom to 7.22 percent.

Telefónica bought an initial 2.99 percent of China Netcom in 2005 for EUR 240 million as part of a partnership agreement with the Chinese operator as a means of getting a foothold in the world’s largest telephone market.

It subsequently raised its interest to 5 percent. With the latest purchase, Telefónica has now invested a total of EUR 727 million in the Chinese company.

Chairman César Alierta said in October of last year that Telefónica planned to increase its holding in China Netcom to 10 percent by the end of last year. A Telefónica spokesman said the company still planned to raise its stake to 10 percent.

Telefónica has two representatives on China Netcom’s board, Alierta and José María Alvarez Pallete, who is in charge of the Spanish company’s Latin American division.

Telefónica’s share price closed Friday down 0.09 percent at EUR 21.53.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Adrián Soto 2008]

Subject: Spanish news