Vodafone in talks to sell back its stake in Swisscom Mobile, papers say

23 Nov 2006

Vodafone is reported by British broadsheet The Times to be in talks with Swisscom, Switzerland’s dominant telecoms group, over the sale of its stake in Swisscom Mobile. Swisscom said yesterday that it had begun talks over the intended re-purchase of the 25% of Swisscom Mobile that it sold to the British mobile group six years ago. The stake is expected to raise in the region of GBP1.8 billion (USD3.4 billion). The sale marks part of Vodafone’s wider efforts to reposition itself to better fight competition, regulation and emerging technologies. The group recently exited Belgium with the sale of a 25% stake in Proximus for GBP1.4 billion to Belgacom. It also mollified shareholders with an exit from its failing Japanese business in March this year. It is not clear yet how Vodafone will use the proceeds from the Swiss sale, but at the group’s interim results last week CEO Arun Sarin said that Vodafone was on the look-out for ‘selective’ acquisitions in emerging markets, with South Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe the primary targets. He also said that if the European assets of 3, the mobile business owned by Hutchison Whampoa, came up for sale, Vodafone would look at them.

Switzerland, Swisscom, Vodafone Group