Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator, has confirmed reports that it is in talks to buy Vivendi Universal’s 50% stake in their joint venture mPortal Vizzavi. The company is rumored to be considering E150 million for the stake.
The partners have spent over E1 billion on Vizzavi, but the portal has not so far been a success. Vivendi’s serious financial difficulties have already forced it to halt investment in Vizzavi, and may now drive a firesale.
If Vodafone does buy Vizzavi, it is likely to phase out the brand and integrate it with its mobile phone businesses. The news comes amid widespread pessimism across the industry surrounding the prospects for mobile data revenues.
Vodafone is also reportedly keen on acquiring Vivendi’s French mobile operator, SFR. However, this depends on the outcome of Vivendi’s impending strategic review. The company has not yet decided whether to focus more strongly on SFR and its parent, Cegetel, or to concentrate on its media businesses and sell the telecoms units.