Vodafone is preparing an unsolicited cash offer for the French mobile operator SFR, which is controlled by Vivendi Universal. However, the media group’s advisers have signalled that it hopes to keep its stake.
Vodafone CEO Sir Christopher Gent on Wednesday indicated to investors that he would be willing to pay around GBP8 billion for Vivendi’s stake. Vodafone has access to an unused bank facility of GBP6.7 billion, and would be likely to raise the remaining funds by additional short-term bank borrowings.
Vodafone already holds a combined stake of 32% stake in SFR: it has a 20% direct sake and a 15% holding in Cegetel, which owns 80% of SFR. Vivendi owns 44% of Cegetel.