Vodafone may consider to sell its 44% stake in French SFR to its majority shareholder – Vivendi. According to Le Figaro, which doesn’t cites any sources, Vodafone’s board has told its executives that if they want to continue making acquisitions in emerging markets, then it will have to consider the sale of minority interests, such as SFR.
Vodafone’s stake in SFR is estimated to be worth around 6.8 billion EUR, but Vivendi has a right of first refusal and may not be willing to pay more than 6 billion EUR, according to Le Figaro.
Vivendi originally took control of SFR after acquiring British Telecom’s 26% stake in Cegetel, which on its end controls 80% of SFR. This in turn, gave Vivendi an effective 56% controlling interest in the network.
The way I see it, Vodafone should proceed and sell its stake in SFR to get more capital to invest in emerging markets. France is a saturated market, which can’t provide as significant returns as emerging markets can. Then again, it definitely provides stability… We’ll watch this story closely and keep you well informed…