Xavier Niel’s Iliad reportedly in talks with Vodafone again

Xavier Niel’s Iliad Group is once again in talks with Vodafone about a potential tie-up, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Xavier Niel’s Iliad reportedly in talks with Vodafone again

Xavier Niel

According to the report, citing unnamed sources, the talks are on a range of potential deals including a tie-up between Vodafone Italy and Iliad’s outfit in that country.

According to the report, Iliad is looking at a range of possible deals with nothing imminent, and Vodafone may wait for the appointment of a permanent CEO before going ahead.

Niel acquired a 2.5% stake in Vodafone last September, in a move that took markets by surprise. In February, Vodafone rejected a US$13 billion bid by Iliad to take over Vodafone Italia in February.

That rejection came after the pair kicked off talks a year earlier.

Vodafone said at the time that it remained focused on delivering shareholder value through a combination of its organic growth strategy over the medium-term and ongoing portfolio optimisation.”

Iliad also indicated that it would not come back for a second bite, stating that it would “pursue its stand-alone strategy” and that the offer already reflected a “very high” premium for Vodafone’s Italian unit.

Both Iliad and Vodafone also offers fixed-line services in the country, with Vodafone also offering pay TV services.

Iliad has been on the rise of late, in March reporting massive growth in its subscriber base and revenues in all three markets in which it is active – France, Poland and Italy – for 2022.

Iliad now claims to be the sixth largest telco in Europe in terms of fixed and mobile subscriptions. It has claimed to be the leader in subscriber growth in Italy for the fifth year running, while in Poland the acquisition of mobile operator Play and cable operator UPC Poland delivered a positive impact.

UK-based Vodafone, whose shareholders also include Liberty Global and Emirates Telecommunications (e&), has been under pressure to sell assets as its share price continues to languish in the doldrums.

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