Report suggests Vodafone sale of China Mobile stake has started
Vodafone’s reported sale of its 3.2 per cent stake in China Mobile gathered pace this week after Reuters said sources with direct knowledge of the deal had confirmed the sale process had begun.
Vodafone declined to comment on the reports but there has been ongoing speculation that the minority stake will be sold off as chief executive Vittorio Colao looks to reverse predecessor Arun Sarin’s policy of acquisitions in emerging markets.
Minority Vodafone shareholder the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan voiced its concerns at what it called Vodafone’s “structural and strategic weaknesses… and a history of poor capital allocation and disastrous mergers and acquisitions” during the company’s last annual general meeting. It was attempting to stop Sir John Bond being re-elected as chairman, and gathered support from 6.5 per cent of shareholders.
In an attempt to quell the unrest, Colao told the AGM “we are not here to manage minorities”, implying a sale of stakes such as China Mobile, which is a publicly-listed company, is on the cards.