Debt-ridden Telefonica mulls sale of O2 Ireland: FT

Sun Jun 2, 2013 2:57pm EDT

A logo of Spain's telecommunications giant Telefonica is seen on a building in Madrid December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

A logo of Spain's telecommunications giant Telefonica is seen on a building in Madrid December 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrea Comas

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(Reuters) - Debt-laden Spanish telecoms company Telefonica SA (TEF.MC) is considering the sale of its O2 Ireland mobile operator after receiving interest from potential suitors, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing sources.

A person familiar with the matter said Telefonica was mulling over "expressions of interest" from companies including Hutchison Whampoa (0013.HK), the Hong Kong-based owner of rival mobile operator Three, the Financial Times reported. link.reuters.com/guq58t

The Financial Times said the non-core O2 Ireland unit could sell for as much as 700 million euros ($907.19 million).

Telefonica, which plans to cut debt to under 47 billion euros by the end of 2013, has disposed of 40 percent of its Central American assets its treasury stock so far this year.

Telefonica and Hutchison Whampoa could not immediately be reached to comment on the matter.

(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Diane Craft)

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