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Telefonica plans sell off of Czech unit

Cash or Czech?

Spanish telecoms group Telefonica is preparing to flog off its $3.6 billion stake in its Czech unit.

Cash strapped Telefonica wants to cut its debt to under $64 billion by the end of the year and has sold a number of including its Irish business O2. Telefonica Czech Republic was widely tipped as an asset the group might ditch. Two of the sources said Czech investment group PPF, owned by the country's richest man Petr Kellner, was the most likely buyer.

PPF recently sold its telecoms arm, which will compete as Revolution Mobile under new ownership, but seems keen to get back into the sector. It considered joining a 4G spectrum auction now underway in the Czech Republic as a new entrant but did not, and so buying Telefonica's business would be an alternative way into the market.

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