Telefónica, S.A. is a Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider operating in Europe, the United States and Latin America. It is the sixth largest mobile network provider in the world.
The company is the former public monopoly of telecommunications in Spain. Its head office is in the Distrito Telefónica in Madrid.
Telefónica is a supporter of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) initiative (a consortium of broadcasting and Internet industry companies including SES, OpenTV and Institut für Rundfunktechnik) that is promoting and establishing an open European standard for hybrid set-top boxes for the reception of broadcast TV and broadband multimedia applications with a single user interface, and has run pilot HbbTV services in Spain.
Created in 1924, as Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España (CTNE), until the liberalisation of the telecom market in 1997, Telefónica was the only telephone operator in Spain and still holds a dominant position (over 75% in 2004). Since 1997, the Spanish government has privatised its interest in the company.
Telefónica is a 100% listed company with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4.563.996.485 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires. Major stockholders include:
- Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA): 14.961%
- Caixa d'Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona ("La Caixa"): 5.442%
- Criteria Caixacorp 5.019%
In addition to this, the company held 75% of Dutch TV firm Endemol in shares, although these have been sold in May 2007 to Edam Acquisition, jointly and equally owned by Cyrte Fund II B.V.; Mediacinco Cartera S.L., which is a newly incorporated entity owned by Mediaset S.p.A. and its quoted subsidiary Gestevision Telecinco S.A.; and GS Capital Partners.
You can find out more about Telefónica and its history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telefonica.