The Spanish government is to acquire a 10 percent stake in Telefónica.

It comes after Saudi Arabian telecoms company STC Group paying $2.25 billion to take a 9.9 percent stake in Telefónica in September, making it the biggest shareholder in the company at the time - but now surpassed by the Spanish government.

– Getty Images

The government has made the acquisition through the state-holding company SEPI.

"The presence of a key public shareholder will reinforce the company's ownership stability," the Budget Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The stake in the telco is valued at €2 billion ($2.2bn) and comes after Telefónica was privatized in 1997 under the government of José María Aznar.

SEPI said that its acquisition will provide the telco with a "greater shareholding stability for the company to reach its objectives and, therefore, it will contribute to safeguarding its strategic capabilities."

In September, STC paid $2.25 billion for the stake in the telco, becoming the biggest shareholder in Telefónica and surpassing BBVA, BlackRock, and CaixaBank.

The holding consists of 4.9 percent of Telefonica's shares and financial instruments that give it another five percent in so-called economic exposure to the company.

The Saudi company said it does not intend to “acquire control or a majority stake” in the company.

Shortly after, the Spanish government said it would examine STC's acquisition before giving any approval to the deal.

This story also appeared in our Spanish edition.