We’ve been hearing Vodafone will sell its stake in French SFR for quite some time now. Well, it’s finally happening with the Big Red carrier confirming the deal with Vivendi (the other shareholder of SFR) to sell them 44% stake for 7.75 billion EUR in cash, with a final dividend of 200 million EUR also due on completion of the transaction.
After Vodafone “leaves the building,” it will enter into a three-year-long “Partner Market” agreement with SFR, which will maintain their commercial co-operation.
Obviously, the transaction is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of June 2011.
Commenting on the move, Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio said: “Our Board remains committed to realizing maximum value from our non-controlled assets. The sale of our stake in SFR, at an attractive multiple, represents a further step in the execution of this strategy.”
Vodafone will use the money to decrease its net debt and extend its share buyback programme, increasing its current allocation to 6.8 billion GBP, which is about 7% of its current market capitalization.