Telefonica's stock surges on reports of possible AT&T acquisition

Telefonica, despite denying a report by Spanish newspaper El Mundo that it received a $93 billion offer from AT&T (NYSE: T), saw its stock jump 2.7 percent in Monday morning trading on European exchanges.

"Telefonica has not received any approach, nor any indication of interest, neither verbal nor in written form, from any party," said a spokesman in a statement to Reuters.

A spokeswoman for AT&T told FieceTelecom in an e-mail they could not comment on any potential deal. 

According to the Reuters report citing the El Mundo article, an unnamed AT&T representative told the government about its plans to take over Telefonica, which has been struggling with €52 billion ($69.4 billion) of debt. The government then moved to block the sale. 

Rumors of AT&T plotting an acquisition of a large European telco like Telefonica come at a time when it has expressed interest in purchasing assets in the region to enhance its wireline business services unit.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region represents a large part of its international business sales. The company serves multinational corporations with six Internet data centers in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and France.

As FierceTelecom reported in January, what makes this a prime time for AT&T to shop for acquisitions in Europe is the ongoing economic crisis and competition, which could lead to lower prices for telecom assets.   

For more:
- Reuters has this article
- and this article

Related articles:
AT&T sees acquisition opportunities in Europe
AT&T to extend wireline IP network to 57M customer locations

Updated on June 17 with AT&T's reply to a request for comment, as well as an adjustment to the headline and article regarding share prices. 

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