Vodafone close to tabling $9.54-bn bid for Spanish cable television provider ONO

Vodafone close to tabling $9.54-bn bid for Spanish cable television provider ONOBritish telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc is close to tabling a €7-billion ($9.54 billion) takeover bid for Spanish cable television provider Grupo Corporativo ONO SA, several media yesterday reported.

Newbury, England-based Vodafone has in recent weeks been in talks with ONO's main shareholders, who include Multitel with 21 per cent stake and CCMP Capital, Providence Equity and Thomas H. Lee Partners each holding 15.2 per cent (See: Vodafone in talks to acquire Spain's cable operator Grupo Corporativo ONO).

The move comes as the Spanish cable operator prepares for an initial public offering in March and plans to hire Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase & Co fr it in the coming weeks.

Madrid-based ONO provides fixed line telephones, broadband and pay TV, and mobile telecom services.

It has more than 4.7 million fixed and mobile services clients, which include 1.8 million residential customers and 105,000 small and medium enterprises.

The company generated revenues of €1.57 billion and net profit of €52 million in 2012. It has a market value of around €6.4 billion ($8.7 billion) including debt of €3.3 billion.

The potential acquisition is part of Vodafone's plan to expand into services such as high-speed Internet and television across Europe.

Last year it acquired Germany's Kabel Deutschland for $10.5 billion in order to boost its presence in Europe's largest economy (See: Kabel Deutschland investors approve Vodafone's $10-bn buyout offer), and is currently eying another British telecom giant BT and Italian broadband cable provider Fastweb.

Vodafone would be flush with funds by the end of this month when it completes the sale of its 45-per cent stake in the Verizon Wireless joint venture to US telecom giant Verizon Communications for a massive $130 billion (See: Verizon buys Vodafone's US joint venture for $130 bn).