Vodafone announces £1bn CWW takeover bid

UK-based operator group Vodafone has reached an agreement to acquire fixed line network provider Cable and Wireless Worldwide (CWW) for £1bn ($1.7bn). Vodafone said the acquisition will make it the second-largest operator in the UK  in revenue terms, behind BT.

Vodafone said that the acquisition would strengthen its enterprise business in the UK and internationally and presents attractive cost saving opportunities.

CWW boasts an extensive UK fibre optic network, which reaches 56 per cent of the population and 400 towns and cities.  If the deal gets the green light, Vodafone would become the only UK mobile operator with its own extensive fibre network, which will ease its reliance on BT.

The announcement comes a week after Indian firm Tata Communications failed to agree a price with CWW and the firm’s directors have unanimously recommended that shareholder’s vote in favour of the acquisition. The deal has not yet been finalised and could still be scuppered if a third party, such as Tata, makes an 11th-hour bid.

“The combination with Vodafone represents an exciting opportunity for CWW’s customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders to benefit from the many advantages that will come from being part of the Vodafone Group,” said John Barton, chairman of CWW.

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group, added that the acquisition: “creates a leading integrated player in the enterprise segment of the UK communications market and brings attractive cost savings to our UK and international operations”

“We look forward to working with the management and employees of Cable & Wireless Worldwide to combine our expertise for the benefit of our customers and shareholders,” he added.

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