Key shareholder Orbis backs Vodafone Cable & Wireless bid

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Shareholder Orbis Holdings admits that deal is likely to go ahead after threatening to try to derail £1 billion takeover by operator

Cable & Wireless Worldwide CWW shareholder Orbis has backed Vodafone’s £1 billion bid for the fixed line network operator, removing one of the final barriers to the takeover.

Orbis, which holds around 19 per cent of CWW’s stock, had opposed the bid, saying the 38p per share offer did not refelect CWW’s value.

However, following a vote completed over the weekend in which the majority of CWW’s other shareholders supported the bid, the firm has backed down.

Almost 60 per cent of shareholders said they supported the bid, bringing Vodafone close to the 75 per cent support needed for the bid to be approved.

“Based on the information announced by CWW today which was shared with us on Saturday and following discussions with CWW, we now believe that the CWW Scheme of Arrangement will eventually succeed, even if Orbis were to vote against it today,” said Orbis.

“In these circumstances our opposition would only serve to prolong the process because the company would likely adjourn today’s meetings to secure the necessary votes. This is not in the interests of any CWW stakeholder.

“Accordingly, Orbis intends to vote in favour of the scheme at the meetings today.”

Acquiring CWW would make Vodafone second largest Telecoms company in the UK after BT.

The deal will help strengthen Vodafone’s enterprise services business and provide a backhaul network which will help the operator cope with rising demand for data from its subscribers.

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