Telefonica has confirmed that it will pay as much as EUR1.1 billion (USD1.6 billion) to boost its stake in China Netcom. Under the plans announced today, Telefonica will buy an additional 2.7% stake in Netcom for EUR368 million before Netcom merges with China Unicom. The Spanish firm will then buy an additional 3.03% stake of the unified company for between EUR392 million and EUR434 million. The company will buy the stakes from AllianceBernstein. Once the stake purchases have been made, Telefonica will own more than 5.5% of the combined China Unicom-China Netcom, and will be the company’s single largest private investor. Telefonica currently owns 4.99% of China Netcom and is awaiting regulatory approval to finish the EUR309 million purchase of a 2.2% stake from four shareholders, announced in January.