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UAE telco e& increases stake in beleaguered Vodafone

UAE-based telecoms group e&, formerly known as Etilsat Group, has increased its stake in Vodafone to 11%. The move comes just a few days after Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read announced he was stepping down. No price was put on the transaction, but e& previously paid $4.4 billion for a 9% stake in the firm.

At this stage, Vodafone says e& has no intention of launching a takeover bid for the company. In a statement, it said: “The rationale of e&’s investment in Vodafone is unchanged from the original investment, as announced on May 14, 2022, which is to gain significant exposure to a world leader in connectivity and digital service at an attractive valuation. e& has no intention to make an offer for Vodafone.”

The e& transaction comes at a difficult time for Vodafone, which has seen a barrage of negative headlines since the news about Read’s departure broke. As noted in DTVE on Monday, the broad perception is that Vodafone lacks strategic direction and is carrying too much debt. With particular pressure in the German market, shareholders are keen to welcome a new CEO with a clear transformation plan. Already on a downward trajectory, Vodafone’s share price has dropped a further 6% since Monday.

The new transaction was undertaken through e& subsidiary Atlas 2022 Holdings Limited. Atlas was established for the purpose of holding the shares in Vodafone.

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