Grupo Olmos hires former Telefonica Spain’s President and aims to acquire Movistar’s operations in Uruguay

According to the information reported this Tuesday, May 12th by Infobae and other specialized websites in Argentina, the Argentine holding company Grupo Olmos, owner of the pay TV channel Cronica TV, the economic newspaper BAE, Radio FMQ, and others, hired Luis Miguel Gilperez, former Telefonica Spain’s President, with the aim of acquiring Telefónica’s operations in Uruguay. In addition, always according to the information reported, the Group contacted the Swiss investment bank UBS to structure the operation’s financial terms.

Gilperez was the Chairman of Telefonica Spain between 2011 and 2018, and was in charge of developing the company’s business in Latin America between 2003 and 2011. According to the information reported, the executive joined Grupo Olmos to structure the acquisition of Telefonica’s operations in Uruguay and lead the project.

Another interested party in acquiring Telefónica’s operations in Uruguay (where the company operates under the ‘Movistar’ brand) is Telecom Argentina. According to the specialized website Digital Policy Law, executives of Telecom Argentina met last year with Uruguay’s President, Luis Lacalle Pou, to discuss investments in the country and the possibility of acquiring Movistar’s subsidiary in the country.

At the end of November 2019, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Chairman & CEO at Telefonica, announced a plan to sell the company’s subsidiaries in Hispanic America (Latin America, excluding Brazil), and focus the business in Brazil, Spain, UK and Germany. Even, according to Cinco Dias, after the announcement, the executive traveled to Latin America and visited Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, part of the main markets where Telefonica operates in the region. Movistar has already made progress with the sale of its subsidiaries in Costa Rica to Liberty Latin America, Nicaragua and Panama to Millicom; and Guatemala and El Salvador to America Movil. Last year, the sale of Movistar El Salvador to America Movil was rejected, after both companies decided not to go ahead with the transaction. In addition, in December 2020, several specialized websites reported that Liberty Latin America also intends to acquire Movistar’s subsidiaries in Colombia and Ecuador.

‘Until a few years ago, our operations in Latin America were the driving force behind the company’s growth. However, the particular conditions in these markets have had an impact on the business, reducing its contribution in recent years for various reasons (macro and regulatory environment, greater competitive pressure, insufficient scale or volatility of currencies), and despite the enormous efforts of our local teams, which have always shown a strong commitment’, Alvarez -Pallete reported when he made the announcement.