Vodafone is preparing to takeover French network operator SFR. The opportunist bid could be made if SFR’s controlling shareholder, Vivendi Universal, decides to break up.
Vodafone’s pan-European network currently stretches from Germany to Portugal. Acquiring SFR would significantly improve network coverage.
SFR, France’s second largest operator, is 80% owned by French telecoms company Groupe Cegetel, which is itself 44% owned by Vivendi. Vodafone also has a 15% stake in Cegetel. A standstill agreement remains in force until September, after which Vivendi will have pre-emption rights if another shareholder decides to sell.