Vodafone aims to launch new services including pay TV and broadband, CEO Vittorio Colao has said at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.
Speaking at the conference yesterday, Colao said that Vodafone would launch “unified services across Europe” and said he was looking at a number of potential acquisition targets.
Colao’s comments give added weight to widespread reports that a move to buy Germany’s leading cable operator Kabel Deutschland could be in the pipeline. Reuters has reported that the mobile giant has hired Goldman Sachs to advise on a possible €10 billion acquisition of the operator, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Kabel Deutschland, recently blocked from acquiring fellow German cable operator Tele Columbus, has said it will focus on organic growth going forwards. Reuters reported last week that the operator would not oppose any bid from Vodafone, citing two sources close to the operator.
Vodafone already provides a hybrid TV service in Germany that combines internet-delivered content with satellite or cable access to broadcast channels, using a platform supplied by NDS. It also offers an internet-delivered TV offering in Portugal.
Colao said that there were some encouraging signs that European regulators were becoming more favourably inclined to consolidation. However, he said that undertakings forced on parties involved in consolidation suggested they still had a “bipolar” mentality.
Colao told journalists that Vodafone’s balance sheet would allow it to make multiple investments without selling its stake in US operator Verizon Wireless. He also said Vodafone could launch services on its own without making acquisitions if necessary.
Competition in the mobile market in Europe has put pressure on Vodafone’s revenues, leading to pressure to sell all or part of its 45% stake in Verizon to purchase fixed line assets in Europe.
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