Both companies have highlighted their willingness to dialogue within the framework of this operation


The president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, and the company’s CEO, Angel Vilá, travel to Saudi Arabia to meet with STC Group, the main Saudi telecommunications operator and which on Tuesday surprisingly announced the purchase of 9 .9% of the shareholders of Telefónica in exchange for 2,100 million euros.

As confirmed to Europa Press by sources familiar with the meeting, the objective of the meeting between the top executives of Telefónica with directors of STC Group is to discuss the different details involved in this operation, which implies that the Saudi group will be the main shareholder of the Spanish operator, thus surpassing BBVA (4.87%), BlackRock (4.48%) and CaixaBank (3.5%).

The purchase by STC of this stake in the Spanish group has been carried out through the acquisition of shares representing 4.9% of Telefónica’s share capital and financial instruments that confer economic exposure on another 5% of Telefónica’s share capital .

In order to convert these financial instruments into voting rights, STC Group must previously obtain authorization from the Government due to the so-called ‘antiopas’ shield, with which the Executive has to give permission to non-EU investors who intend to acquire more than 10% of a listed strategic company.

However, this threshold is lowered to 5% in the case of companies with interests in the field of national defense, as is the case of Telefónica, so, a priori, this will be one of the main points that will be addressed in meeting in Saudi Arabia.

Another of the aspects that the directors of both companies will address will be linked to the possibility that STC Group requests to join the board of directors of Telefónica.

However, sources close to the Saudi company have told Europa Press that the company considers it “premature” to request a seat on Telefónica’s board of directors at this point in the operation, although they have not ruled out that possibility becoming a reality. in the future.

The operation, which was made public on Tuesday night, took Telefónica by surprise and, in fact, several emergency meetings were held yesterday due to the announcement of the operation, including the call by the president of a crisis committee.

The operation has been described as “friendly” by both companies, which have also expressed their “willingness to dialogue” regarding its development, according to sources familiar with the situation.

From STC they have clarified that they have no intention of acquiring control or a majority stake in Telefónica. “This is a great investment opportunity that allows us to use our solid balance sheet while maintaining our attractive dividend policy,” they pointed out.

In addition, as they have highlighted, this acquisition represents “another important milestone” in its expansion and growth strategy, and reflects confidence in Telefónica’s sustainable growth and upward potential.

As part of its growth strategy, STC has made a series of investments in the information, communication and technology sector, both in Saudi Arabia and abroad, the most recent being the acquisition by its subsidiary Tawal of the assets of United Group telecommunications towers in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.

STC Group Chairman Mohammed K.A. Al Faisal has commented that his company shares many similarities with Telefónica. “This important long-term investment by STC Group is aligned with our growth strategy, according to which we invest in sectors such as technology and digital infrastructure in markets that we consider promising around the world,” he said.