US telecoms giant AT&T recently made a bid to buy part of Telefonica’s assets including O2, Telefonica's UK arm, according to sources.
The US mobile operator is said to be interested in Telefonica, EE and Vodafone assets as it looks to expand in Europe in the face of increasing competition at home from Verizon Wireless, the largest mobile operator in the US.
According to a report in Bloomberg News, sources claim AT&T, which is the second-largest mobile operator in the States, informally approached Spanish authorities to discuss its interest in buying as much as 29.9% of Telefonica. The sources added that Telefonica rejected the proposal.
AT&T has also evaluated an outright merger with Telefonica in recent months, said one source, despite the Spanish company’s debt problems.
AT&T and Telefonica declined to comment.