With its home turf in Spain still a painful market, Telefonica seems to have decided that its best bet for the future lies in Latin America. Rumors last week had them sniffing around assets in Mexico in the wake of Carlos Slim's retreat, but this morning they took a more concrete action. Telefonica has bid for GVT, and if they succeed they'll have the biggest marketshare in the largest regional market.
The Brazilian wireless player Global Village Telecom is currently controlled by another European-based company, Vivendi, while Telefonica operates in Brazil as Vivo. Telefonica has offered a combination of cash and stock worth BR20.1B ($8.9B) for GVT, which would put the combined company on top of the Brazilian telecommunications market on paper. Vivendi has about a month to consider the offer, although it has said the unit is not actively for sale.
It's interesting that European consolidation activity has been spilling over into overseas holdings to such a degree lately. With France's Iliad bidding for DT's T-Mobile US unit and now Telefonica bidding for GVT, there certainly seems to be some asset swapping going on. Meanwhile, as the Europeans move chess pieces in the western hemisphere, Mexico's Carlos Slim and America Movil have been moving them around in Europe.