Brazil sees Telefonica addressing antitrust issues

BRASILIA Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:54am EDT

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Spain's Telefonica SA (TEF.MC) is "clearly working to address" antitrust issues in Brazil, where it faces scrutiny from direct and indirect participation in two of the nation's biggest mobile carriers, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo said on Wednesday.

Brazilian antitrust watchdog Cade has been pressing Telefonica to reduce its stake in Telecom Italia SpA, whose Brazilian unit, TIM ParticipaƧƵes SA (TIMP3.SA), competes directly with Telefonica Brasil (VIVT3.SA). Telefonica challenged the ruling and still has almost a year to resolve the regulatory issue.

Pressure from Cade has contributed to speculation that Telefonica was preparing a joint bid to break up TIM Brasil. All companies involved have denied the speculation.

(Reporting by leonardo Goy; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal)

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