Spain’s state-owned investment company Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI) hit its goal of holding a 10 per cent stake in Telefonica, a target it set in late 2023 to counterbalance stc’s holding in the operator.

SEPI stated it had informed stock market regulator CNMV of the purchase, increasing its stake from 6 per cent which it held at the end of April.

It first started building its stake in March, taking a 3 per cent holding three months after Spain’s economic ministry ordered the purchase. The move is designed to ensure the nation’s investment vies with stc to be Telefonica’s largest shareholder.

Saudi operator stc spent €2.1 billion on a stake totalling just shy of 10 per cent in 2023.

In total, SEPI bought more than 567 million shares, spending around €2.3 billion. It told CNMV the 10 per cent buy “ends the carrying out of the purchase operations ordered by the cabinet”.

The government added SEPI’s ownership will provide greater shareholder stability for the company to achieve its objectives and “contributes to the protection of the strategic capabilities” of a key player in the telecoms sector.

Shortly after SEPI’S announcement, Spanish publication El Confidencial reported the country’s biggest financial holding company CriteriaCaixa is also planning to increase its stake in Telefonica from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, matching the government and stc.