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Telefonica of Spain is reported to have sold an 8 per cent stake in Portugal Telecom, leaving it with a 2% interest in the company.
The deal was reported by Portuguese business daily Jornal de Negocios on Wednesday.
Telefonica is bidding for Portugal Telecom’s stake in Vivo Participacoes SA, Brazil’s biggest wireless operator, leading to claims that it sold its stake in Portugal Telecom to allies who would vote in favour of the Vivo deal.
Vivo is jointly owned by Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, but Telefonica is seeking to take control of the company in order to merge it with Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo SA, its fixed-line unit in Brazil.
Telefonica said that the sale of its shares in Portugal Telecom was carried out via brokers and it did not know the identities of the buyers.
The company denies that it made a deal with the buyers to support its bid for Vivo.