Telefonica of Spain has been linked with the possible sale of its O2 Ireland mobile network operation after receiving interest from potential bidders, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing unnamed sources as saying. According to people familiar with the situation, the Madrid-based behemoth is working through a number of expressions of interest, including one from Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-based firm which owns O2 Ireland rival, 3 Ireland. If a deal is struck it is thought it could raise up to EUR700 million (USD907.2 million) the paper said, as Telefonica mulls options to trim its debt to under EUR47 billion by the end of this year. To date it has reportedly divested 40% of its Central American assets in treasury stock in 2013. Neither Telefonica nor Hutch could be reached for comment.
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