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Vodafone shares rise on Cevian news, hopes for additional offers

Branding hangs outside the house a Vodafone shop in Oxford, Britain, May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Shares in Vodafone (VOD.L) rose 4% on Monday following stories that activist trader Cevian Cash had purchased an undisclosed stake in the mobile team to motivate it to direct a consolidation travel in Europe.

Analysts and buyers welcomed the transfer following the British company’s shares languished for the duration of the two decades of the pandemic, held again by competition in markets these types of as Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Chief Govt Nick Examine, Vodafone’s previous CFO who has been in the major position given that Oct. 2018, has known as for extra consolidation in Europe and mentioned it was willing to pursue merger options for its Vantage Towers infrastructure spin-out.

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He has presently concluded 19 transactions, serving to it target on Europe and Africa.

The simply call for consolidation demonstrates a escalating perception in the marketplace that Brussels might be more open up to in-nation specials to decrease the selection of operators in each and every industry, enabling them to extract increased returns and commit a lot more in their networks.

A need to have to spend in networks, highlighted all through the pandemic, follows quite a few several years when regulators in Europe prioritised the requirements of shoppers, requiring 4 or five operators in every single sector to compete and retain selling prices reduced.

The largest players in European telecoms are Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), France’s Orange and Telefonica (TEF.MC). Vodafone experiences quarterly final results on Wednesday.

The Economical Moments said Cevian, Europe’s biggest activist fund, preferred Vodafone to be far more aggressive in driving consolidation in marketplaces this kind of as Spain, Italy and the United kingdom.

Reuters described previously this month that Vodafone and Iliad were in talks to incorporate their organizations in Italy. examine more

Bloomberg 1st documented the Cevian growth. Each Vodafone and Cevian declined to remark.

Victoria Scholar, Head of Investment decision at Interactive Investor, reported Vodafone had been sucked into a battle on cost.

“Until drastic action is taken to overhaul Vodafone, the stock appears to be set to keep on to underperform the FTSE 100, at a time when the British isles market is seeking increasingly persuasive from a valuation perspective, obtaining underperformed other international indices considering the fact that Brexit,” she reported.

The arrival of Cevian arrives as activist buyers just take an escalating purpose in Britain, with experiences that Nelson Peltz’s Trian Companions has developed a stake in Unilever (ULVR.L), and news that Patrick Drahi now owns 18% of BT (BT.L).

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Reporting by Kate Holton, Modifying by Louise Heavens

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