The US telco BellSouth and Spanish firm Telefónica have begun the process of transferring assets as part of the USD5.8 billion sale of ten Latin American cellcos. As announced earlier this year, Telefónica is acquiring BellSouth’s operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as in Ecuador, Guatemala and Panama. The Spanish company has now paid USD1.2 billion to take control of BellSouth’s subsidiaries in these three last countries. The US telco says it expects the sale to add USD600 million, or 33 cents a share, to its fourth-quarter earnings. The remaining operations will be transferred by the end of the year if regulatory approval is granted in each market.
The ten BellSouth companies served a combined base of almost 12.5 million subscribers at the end of June. The acquisition will strengthen Telefónica’s dominant position in the Latin American wireless sector; the Spanish company had 37.8 million mobile subscribers across the region by mid-2004.