Spain’s Telefonica Continues Asset Sell-Off

The telco giant puts call center unit on the block in an attempt to trim its $70 billion debt burden.

COLOGNE, Germany –Telefonica has put another of its assets up for sale as the troubled Spanish telecommunications giant looks to cut its looming $70 billion (€57.1 billion) debt burden.

Telefonica this week said it has received multiple offers for its Atento call-center unit and would push ahead with plans to sell off the company. Telefonica tried to take Atento public last year but withdrew the sale due to lackluster demand.

The move follows Telefonica’s announcement last month that it plans to sell shares in its German mobile and telecommunications business, which is estimated to be worth up to $12 billion (€10 billion). The company has said it may also float some of its operations in Latin America.

Telefonica is Spain's largest media concern and the sixth-largest mobile operator in the world. It used to control 75 percent of Dutch TV giant Endemol but sold that stake to Italy's Mediaset back in 2007. The bulk of the company's assets are now in its core telephony and broadband businesses.

Telefonica has been hard hit by the recession in the Spanish market and has seen its credit rating downgraded.