Telefonica, BBVA Join in One-Two Punch for E-Banking, B2B

Telefonica S.A. Friday signed a
far-reaching accord with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria to swap
stock, delve into new delivery formats, jointly target the B2B market and
integrate one of Spain’s conventional banks with its first online bank.


BBVA, which previously held a minority stake in Telefonica (TEF),
will see its holding rise to 10 percent. Telefonica, which is also the
parent company of leading Spanish Net player Terra (TRRA), will now hold a 3 percent stake in BBVA. BBVA will also acquire a 40
percent stake in e-commerce subsidiary Telefonica B2B.


Telefonica will increase its stake in recently launched online bank Uno-e from 20 percent to 49 percent. BBVA
will then integrate all aspects of its Banco de Comercio banking unit —
from trademark to assets, offices and staff — to Uno-e, effectively sending
its potential customer base skyrocketing.


The companies are considering plans to develop joint ventures for other B2B
and B2C companies for portals, interactive banking services and transaction
products.


After hitting into online banking and B2B, the dynamic Spanish duo aim to
develop new online payment methods for Internet and mobile device access
through Movilpago. In this aspect of the deal, BBVA will take a 5 percent
stake in the Telefonica-led consortium which is currently pursuing UMTS
licenses throughout Europe.


The two Spanish multi-industry groups plan to cross customer bases within
the same regions to accelerate development and encourage adoption of the new
creations.


BBVA will also get a 20 percent share of Telefonica’s Atento, which is
building a call center business in Europe, Latin America and the U.S. BBVA
will transfer its customer support centers to this unit. Other businesses
involvements include a $200 million injection from BBVA to Telefonica-led
venture capital company Communicapital Partners.


Two other companies — Hispasat, S.A., which has received investments from
both players, and La Caixa — will also have the opportunity to join in the
vast initiative.


Uno-e was formed last month as a joint venture between BBVA and Terra. Uno-e
will commence operations in Spain, expanding to Southern Europe and Latin
America later this year. The company aims to win over a million online
clients–including the U.S. Hispanic market–by 2003. Earlier in January,
Terra acquired a 20 percent interest in a BBVA-backed company, and BBVA
purchased three percent of Terra.


The recently merged BBVA is the current leader in Spanish online banking,
with 4.5 million transactions monthly. Its 160,000 clients make up 20
percent of the market share.

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