Vodafone reportedly looks to boost European fixed line network with another acquisition
Vodafone has reportedly bid €7 billion (£5.8bn) for Spanish cable company Ono as it seeks to reinvest some of the $130 billion generated from the sale of its stake in US operator Verizon Wireless in acquisitions that will arrest falling revenues in Europe.
According to The Sunday Times, the British operator has been negotiating for several weeks with Ono’s backers, which include Providence Equity Partners, Quadrangle Capital and General Electric (GE), and the offer will be discussed by the Spanish company’s board on Tuesday.
Vodafone has cited challenging economic and regulatory conditions for a 9.6 percent drop in European revenues in the most recent quarter, with income from Spain falling by 14.1 percent, and is looking at fixed line networks as a way to diversify its portfolio.
The company is already building a fibre network in the country, but the acquisition of Ono would strengthen its ability to offer ‘quad-play’ packages of broadband, landline, television and mobile services, which are popular on the continent. Vodafone is also constructing a fibre network in Italy, where it has also been linked with a move for cable firm Fastweb, and has also agreed a £6.6 billion takeover of Kabel Deutschland in Germany.
There have also been reports that Vodafone and Sky have been discussing a potential alliance to curb the growing threat of BT, which has invested heavily in television and is planning to launch mobile services with EE, and Virgin Media.
Late last year, Vodafone outlined more details of a £19bn investment programme across its worldwide businesses, and CEO Vittorio Colao has said he expects the European situation to improve in the near future – something which could eventually tempt AT&T to launch a takeover bid once Verizon Wireless sale is complete.