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Telefonica evaluating interest in towers firm Cornerstone, no decision made

The logo of Spanish Telecom company Telefonica is seen in Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish telecom firm Telefonica considers the 50% stake in cellphone mast operator Cornerstone it owns with Liberty Global a "disposable asset" and sees high interest in the market for it, Chief Operating Officer Angel Vila told Reuters on Friday.

No decision to sell has been made yet, though, and he declined to estimate the value of the stake, he said in a telephone interview.

"We, the partners, can sell it totally or partly, we are open to that possibility," Vila said.

Long-term income streams tied to inflation have turned towers into prized investment targets and an attractive source of cash for telecom firms in Europe and elsewhere at a moment they need billions to invest in rolling out 5G networks.

Cornerstone is jointly joined by Virgin Media O2, which is owned by Telefonica and Liberty, and Vodafone through its Frankfurt-listed subsidiary Vantage Towers .

The British telecoms group is at the same time in talks with financial investors to sell a stake in its wireless towers, according to sources.

Cornerstone is the largest tower company in the UK, managing around 14,200 macro sites on behalf of its two anchor tenants, according to Vantage´s website.

Vila said that Vantage does not have preemption rights for Virgin Media's stake in Cornerstone.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Andres Gonzalez)