Vodafone to buy Spanish cable operator Ono for £6bln

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The deal is part of Vodafone’s drive to become a leading unified communications provider in Europe

Vodafone is to buy Spanish cable operator Ono for €7.2 billion (£6 billion).

The acquisition is part of Vodafone’s strategy to become a leading unified communications provider in Europe. It follows the operator’s purchase of German cable company Kabel Deutschland in June last year, and Cable and Wireless Worldwide in April 2012.

Ono is the largest high-speed broadband provider in Spain, and has 1.9 million customers.

Vodafone will finance the transaction using exiting cash resources and “committed but undrawn bank facilities”, it said. In September last year, Vodafone sold its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless to US telecoms group Verizon Communications for £79 billion – which analysts predicted will be used to acquire broadband and TV assets across Europe. So far it has spent an estimated £12.4 billion, leaving it with £66.6 billion.

The operator is rumoured to be in talks with BSkyB over a possible acquisition, although Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao has played these down by saying he does not see the need for a ‘quad-play’ (fixed-line, mobile, broadband and pay-TV bundles) in the UK at the moment.

On the Ono purchase, Colao said: “Demand for unified communications products and services has increased significantly over the last few years in Spain, and this transaction – together with our fibre-to-the-home build programme – will accelerate our ability to offer best-in-class propositions in the Spanish market.”

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