e& (formerly Etisalat Group) has announced that, via wholly owned subsidiary Atlas 2022 Holdings Limited, it has acquired 2.766 billion shares in UK-based Vodafone Group, representing 9.8% of the latter’s issued share capital (excluding treasury shares).
In a press release regarding the development, e& said that having spent around USD4.4 billion on acquiring the stake in the British telecoms giant, it had made the investment ‘to gain significant exposure to a world leader in connectivity and digital services’. Of note, e& has said it is ‘fully supportive’ of Vodafone Group’s Board and existing management team, as well as the company’s current business strategy announced in November 2021, while also confirming that it is not seeking to exert control or influence Vodafone Group’s board or management team. With e& having said it plans to be a ‘long-term and supportive shareholder’ in Vodafone Group, it also stated that is has no intention to make a takeover offer for Vodafone Group, and such a statement now precludes it from doing so for six months under UK takeover rules.
Commenting, Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO of e&, said: ‘Our investment represents a unique opportunity to acquire a significant stake in one of the leading and strongest global telecom brands, and a company that we know well. We are looking forward to building a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with Vodafone with the goal of driving value creation for both our businesses, exploring opportunities in the rapidly developing global telecoms market and supporting the adoption of next-generation technologies … We see this investment as a good opportunity for e& and its shareholders as it will allow us to enhance and develop our international portfolio, in line with our strategic ambition.’