LONDON (CNNfn) - Spain's leading telecom operator Telefonica and the country's largest bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), announced a wide-ranging strategic alliance Friday focused on online banking and e-commerce services in Europe and Latin America.|
Telefonica and BBVA said they will increase their existing cross shareholdings, jointly launch an Internet investment fund and jointly develop BBVA's Uno-E Internet bank.
BBVA - which overtook Spanish market leader BSCH in terms of market value when it was formed last October - will lift its stake in Telefonica from 8 to 10 percent. Telefonica will take a 3 percent stake in BBVA and increase its stake in BBVA's Uno-E online banking arm from 20 to 49 percent. Juan Villalonga, the telephone company's chairman, will become deputy chairman of BBVA.
The announcement came on the day that Lloyds TSB (LLOY), Britain's largest bank, announced plans for a pan-European Net bank, which will launch first in Spain.
Shares of Telefonica and BBVA were suspended ahead of the announcement. Telefonica, which has been in alliance talks with British Telecommunications (BTA), rose 3 percent from its Thursday close when trading resumed, while BBVA rose 5 percent.
-- from staff and wire reports