Vodafone Ends Shareholder Tussle Over 2013 Kabel Acquisition

Seven year itch. British mobile operator to buy remaining shares in Kabel for £1.9 billion ($2.6 billion) to halt legal action

British mobile operator Vodafone has offered to buyout the remaining minority shareholders of Germany’s largest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland.

It was way back in September 2013, when Vodafone overcame stiff shareholder opposition and finally acquired a majority 77 percent shareholding in Kabel for £6.6 billion.

That deal gave Vodafone in Germany an extra 8.5 million customers, coupled with the necessary infrastructure and networks to offer a so-called “quad-play” service, including mobile phone, home broadband, home telephone and television, all from a single provider.

Shareholder deal

But for seven years Vodafone has been involved in a long-running legal dispute with the minority shareholders of Kabel, including activist shareholder group Elliot Management Corp.

Vodafone last week offered more than 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) to buy out Kabel’s minority shareholders.

Vodafone said shareholders representing 17.1 percent of the shares had accepted the offer, with Elliott, D.E. Shaw and UBS O’Connor all reportedly accepting the offer and agreeing not to take further legal action against Vodafone.

This deal means that Vodafone will end up owning almost 94 percent of Kabel’s outstanding shares.

However it should be noted the offer is conditional on clearance under German foreign investment legislation.