Telefonica cutting costs

Telco puts TV assets on block

MADRID — Spanish telco Telefonica has put some significant TV assets on the sales block in a belt-tightening drive.

These include its 23% in satellite system Hispasat, 50% in Argentine network Azul TV and its 20% in Argentine sports broker Torneos y Competencias.

All these assets are housed within Telefonica’s film and TV subsid Telefonica Media.

Telefonica Media CEO Fernando Abril is reported to have also reconfirmed Telefonica’s interest in divesting its 5% in the U.K.’s Pearson Group — when Pearson’s share price rises.

In reacting to a slowing economy, Telefonica aims to reduce its investments by some 12% in 2002. Through its sale of media and real estate interests, Telefonica also plans to cut its net debt by 9% to 28.4 billion euros ($25.9 billion).

(Emiliano de Pablos in Madrid contributed to this report)

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