Vodafone boss refuses to rule out sale of UK business

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao

Group chief executive Vittorio Colao says operator is “always open to discussions on everything” 

Vodafone has refused to rule out a sale of its UK business following the collapse of CK Hutchison’s attempted acquisition of O2 last week.

Following its latest financial results published today, Mobile News asked Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao (pictured) about his views on its long-term future in the UK and whether it would be open for sale discussions at the right price.

He said the operator would welcome approaches, while also stressing the importance of preserving its network sharing agreement with O2, adding this was one of the main reasons Hutchison’s £10.25 billion acquisition of O2 was blocked by the European Commission.

“We’re always open to discussions on everything,” said Colao. “The UK for us is predominantly about fixed and mobile, while enterprise and mobile have grown well here.

“We need to preserve our network sharing agreement and that is important, which is why we think Hutchison’s acquisition of O2 was very hard to push through.”

Last June, Vodafone and Liberty Global opened talks over a ‘possible exchange of selected assets’ but these discussions were terminated at the end of September.

In February, Vodafone agreed a tie-up in the Netherlands with the same company, combining its mobile operations with Liberty’s Ziggo broadband network.

Full report in the next issue of Mobile News, out on May 31.