Xavier Niel’s Atlas Investissement acquires 2.5% stake in Vodafone Group

22 Sep 2022

Atlas Investissement, an investment vehicle indirectly held by French billionaire Xavier Niel, has announced the acquisition of a 2.5% stake in British telecoms giant Vodafone Group. In a press release confirming the development, Atlas said it had identified the UK telco as ‘an attractive investment opportunity, as per the quality of its assets portfolio and the solid underlying trends in the global telecommunications sector’.

Atlas also took the opportunity to state its support for Vodafone Group’s ‘publicly-stated intention to pursue consolidation opportunities in selected geographies’, as well the British company’s efforts in infrastructure separation. Furthermore, the new shareholder said it was of the opinion that were ‘opportunities to accelerate both the streamlining of Vodafone’s footprint and the separation of its infrastructure assets, further reduce costs, improve profitability, accelerate broadband development in Germany and other geographies and enhance focus on innovation’.

According to the Financial Times, meanwhile, the 2.5% stake that Atlas has built is worth about GBP750 million (USD850 million) at current market prices, although it has not been disclosed whether the stake was all in shares or partly in derivatives.

Atlas’s investment marks the latest in a line of noteworthy announcements regarding companies acquiring shares in Vodafone Group, following as it does both the January 2022 announcement that activist investor Cevian Capital had built an undisclosed stake in the British company, and the May 2022 acquisition of a 9.8% stake in Vodafone Group by UAE-based e& (formerly Etisalat Group).

United Kingdom, NJJ Group (incl. NJJ Telecom Europe), Vodafone Group