UK-based Vodafone Group has denied a report in The Times newspaper that it is in talks to sell a 15% stake in the company to Russia’s Alfa Group for GBP15 billion (USD28.6 billion). ‘There is no substance to this,’ a spokesman told Dow Jones.
In separate news, Vodafone says it has agreed terms for its earlier announced plans to outsource some of its IT activities to EDS and IBM. Vodafone’s businesses in Germany, the UK, Hungary and the Netherlands will work with EDS, while units in Spain, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Italy are expected to work with IBM. The seven-year contracts will see EDS and IBM take over application development and maintenance services for key IT systems such as billing and customer care from early 2007. The move is part of attempts to cut Vodafone’s GBP560 million annual application development and maintenance costs by between 25% and 30% within five years.