Vodafone eyes UK's telecom network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide

Vodafone Group, the world's largest mobile services company by revenue, today said it was mulling acquiring the UK's second-largest fixed-line telecom network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide (C&WW), whose value is around £700 million.

The FTSE 100 mobile operator said it was ''in the very early stages of evaluating the merits of a potential offer for C&WW'', but added that there was no certainty of an offer being made.

C&WW, which has issued a string of profit warnings since its March 2010 demerger from Cable & Wireless Communications and saw its stock price lose 70 per cent of its value over the last 12 months, was worth around £700 million on 10 January but its stock soared by 31 per cent to 25 pence in early trading today following the news of Vodafone's potential interest.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that private equity firm Apax Partners is also evaluating bidding for C&WW.

Bracknell, Berkshire-based C&WW specialises in providing communication networks and services to large corporates, governments, carrier customers and resellers. Its services include managed voice, data and IP-based services and applications across the UK, Asia Pacific, India, Middle East & Africa, Continental Europe and North America.

It owns the UK's biggest fibre network dedicated to business users of telecommunications and has an international cable network spanning approximately 425,000km in length. It reaches across the Atlantic Ocean, through Europe and on to India and throughout Asia. In conjunction with satellite, C&WW connects every continent and more than 150 countries.