Spain’s Telefonica Sells China Unicom Stake for $1.4B

HONG KONG (AP) — Spanish phone company Telefonica is selling about half its stake in China Unicom back to the Chinese state-owned phone carrier for 11 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$ 1.4 billion).

Visitors are seen at the China Unicom booth at the China Beijing International High-tech Expo (CHITEC) in Beijing in this file photo (Photo credit: Shutterstock).

Unicom said Sunday it had agreed to buy about 1.1 billion shares from Telefonica at HK$10.21 a share. The shares represent a 4.56 percent stake. After the deal, Telefonica will still own 5 percent of Unicom, whose shares are traded in Hong Kong.

The deal is expected to close by the end of July.

Telefonica’s first-quarter profit plunged 54 percent, in large part due to a write-down of the value of an investment in Italy.

China Unicom Ltd. is one of the country’s three major state-owned phone carriers.