The WRAP: Vodafone secures Essar buy, agrees to SFR sale

Staff writer
08 Apr 2011

Vodafone this week secured the acquisition of Essar's stake in its Indian joint venture Vodafone Essar, and brought the curtain down on a long running saga over the sale of its stake in French cellco SFR.

Vodafone confirmed it will take its Indian business Vodafone Essar to IPO after completing a $5 billion buyout of partner Essar’s 33% stake in the carrier.

French media outfit Vivendi agreed to purchase Vodafone’s 44% holding for €7.95 billion ($11.36 billion), granting it full control of SFR, however the price agreed was higher than the €7 billion Vivendi originally offered, and lower than the £8 billion ($13 billion) Vodafone was seeking.

Vodafone will pump €4.5 billion of the sale income into buying back shares and reducing its debt, while Vivendi claimed the deal doesn’t mean it is switching its focus to telecoms.

In other acquisition news, two of the seven firms shortlisted to bid for Polish cellco Polkomtel pulled out of the sale on the same day the operator revealed profits grew 13.2% to 1.1 billion Polish zlotys ($396.2 million) in 2010. Current owners Vodafone, PKN Orlen and KGHM Polska Miedz have set a $5 billion price tag.

Texas Instruments agreed to buy rival National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, and packet software firm Metaswitch Networks snapped up instant messaging firm Colibria.

Several speakers at the Femtocell Asia event bemoaned a lack of seamless mobility, which they claim is a major obstacle to the rollout of femtocells in Asia Pacific.

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