(Bloomberg) -- Telefonica SA is considering options for its Spanish fiber network, including a stake sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Spanish telecommunications company has spoken with potential advisers about a carveout of the unit ahead of a possible deal to bring in new investors, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Any transaction could value a standalone Spanish fiber business at around 15 billion euros ($17.4 billion), the people said.

Deliberations are in the early stages and any deal is likely to take management until 2022 at the earliest to negotiate, according to the people. No final decisions on the timing or size of any transaction have been made and Telefonica could also decide against a stake sale, they said. 

A representative for Telefonica declined to comment.

Telefonica announced in late 2019 that it planned to sell assets to help cut its debt pile. As debt has dropped, it’s started to view stake sales in its infrastructure assets as a good way to raise money for new investments, while also taking advantage of strong appetite for the asset class. Chairman Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete said last year there is a lot of “optionality” for Telefonica’s fiber unit in Spain. 

In July, the company agreed to sell a stake in its Colombian fiber optic broadband network to private equity firm KKR & Co. -- its fourth such deal since last year. It’s also been forming joint ventures to deploy fiber in countries including Germany and Brazil.

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