1018 GMT - Telefonica is among the most mentioned companies across news items over the past 12 hours, according to Factiva data, after Saudi Telecom Co. acquired a 9.9% stake in the Spanish telecommunications company and drew attention from Spanish government officials. Telefonica said STC bought a 4.9% interest outright as well as financial instruments that provide an exposure over a further 5% of its share capital. This leaves the Saudi company with a bigger stake than existing shareholders Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, BlackRock and CaixaBank, which are deemed significant by Telefonica with stakes that represent 4.87%, 4.48% and 3.50% of its voting rights, according to Telefonica's website. STC separately said it doesn't intend to seek control of Telefonica, and that it has confidence in the company's leadership and strategy. Still, the move prompted a call from Spain's acting Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz to bolster the country's takeover regulations. Spain must ensure its decision-making capacity in companies such as Telefonica, which guards sensitive data, Diaz said on X, formerly Twitter. Meanwhile, acting government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez called Telefonica a strategic company for Spain and said the government has tools at its disposal to preserve the country's strategic autonomy in an interview with public broadcaster TVE. Dow Jones & Co. owns Factiva. (andrea.figueras@wsj.com)

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2023 08:57 ET (12:57 GMT)

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