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April 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:01pm

TELEFONICA’S UNISOURCE PARTNERS DEMAND ITS BLOOD

By CBR Staff Writer

Early on Friday, it appeared that Telefonica de Espana SA was seeking to have its cake and eat it in a big way, and was telling Reuters that it believed the deal with Concert was compatible with its presence in Unisource NV since the latter covered only Europe. But the other Unisource partners, Telia AB, Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV and Swiss Telecom, with AT&T looking over their shoulders, quickly made it clear that there was no question of the Spaniard remaining in Unisource. What’s more, they were determined to exact their full pound of flesh. AT&T Corp, whose ties with Telefonica go back to the early 1980s, was desperate to prevent Telefonica defecting from Unisource, and AT&T Unisource chairman Ben Verwaayen, said bitterly that the Spanish carrier would have to pay up if it abandoned its international alliance. Unisource owns the data network in Spain – not Telefonica any more. We will certainly not give it away for free, it said, accusing Telefonica’s new management of violating contracts that they were so anxious to go into less than a year ago. The partners remain sufficiently civilized that they do want to settle out of court: they are in no hurry to find any replacement for Telefonica, but the Italian state-controlled holding company Societa Finanziaria Telefonica pA is widely seen to fit the bill. The only rival to comment was Deutsche Telekom AG, which thought the deal would weaken AT&T more than anything.

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