Vodafone has agreed to buy shares in Cegetel, the operator of France’s second largest mobile operator SFR. The UK based mobile operator is paying E6.3 billion in a cash deal to acquire BT Group’s and SBC Communications’ stakes in Cegetel.
An additional E6.77 billion offer has been made to Vivendi Universal for Vodafone to purchase its 44% stake in Cegetel. However, Vivendi also has the legal right to match Vodafone’s offer and buy the BT and SBC stakes itself. Vodafone’s non-binding offer is open until October 30.
Vivendi and Vodafone are locked in a tense battle for control of SFR following the expiry of ‘standstill rights’ in September. Vodafone currently has a 20% direct holding in SFR with Cegetel owning the remaining 80%. Vodafone also has a 15% stake in Cegetel with BT owning 26% and SBC 15%.