Telefonica appears set to continue its retreat from Latin America as it stepped up a move to sell its Movistar subsidiary in Chile, as part of an ongoing restructuring plan, El Economista reported.
According to sources speaking to the business publication, Telefonica has been working with Citi and Morgan Stanley for more than a year to find buyers for its assets in Latin America, and it appears its business in Chile is next up on the chopping block.
Liberty Latin America, which secured a deal for Telefonica’s mobile business in Costa Rica in July for €425 million, is the most likely buyer for the Chilean business, added sources. However Claro and Entel, among others, could also be potential suitors.
The news about a potential sale in Chile comes less than a month after Bloomberg reported Liberty Latin America held talks with Telefonica about the potential acquisition of the latter’s businesses in Colombia and Ecuador.
Telefonica’s presence in the region has been uncertain since it announced plans to spin-off the majority of its operations in Latin America into a standalone division in 2019, as part of a restructure to focus on its core markets in Europe and its business in Brazil.
As well as Costa Rica, the company has in recent years offloaded some of its units in Central and South America to rival operators Millicom and America Movil.
Liberty Latin America, meanwhile, has been on an acquisition spree to increase its presence in the region. Last year it also purchased two units from AT&T.
A deal to acquire Telefonica’s business in Chile could however face regulatory hurdles, as it already owns VTR, Chile’s leading fixed broadband and pay-TV operator.