MADRID – Spain’s Telefonica has agreed to acquire an 85 percent stake in Spanish social-networking site Tuenti – often compared to U.S.-based Facebook – for 70 million euros ($92 million), sources familiar with the deal told Efe.
The telecoms giant said only that it had reached an agreement to invest in the company, Spain’s most popular social-networking site with 8 million users, mostly adolescents and young adults.
Tuenti, which was founded in 2006, will maintain its current executive team led by American Zaryn Dentzel, Telefonica said, noting that that will ensure continuity with respect to the company’s operations.
Qualitas Equity Partners had been Tuenti’s main shareholder, with a 30 percent stake, while the rest of the capital had been held by the company’s founders.
Telefonica said the transaction will allow it to expand its presence in the world of Internet and social networking, take ownership of a growing business and give it more exposure to Web-based innovation and services demanded by young people.
Telefonica had launched a social-networking site in 2008 known as Keteke in a bid to create more customer loyalty, but it fared poorly against Tuenti, whose main competitor in Spain is Facebook with 10 million active users.
Telefonica said Tuenti is Spain’s flagship social-networking Web site and, according to ComScore figures from May, is the country’s most frequently visited site.
The telecoms group added that Tuenti has succeeded in connecting with its users, “achieving among them a great sense of belonging,” and has incorporated cutting-edge models of technological development. EFE