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Vodafone mulling Másmóvil takeover – reportVodafone mulling Másmóvil takeover – report

UK-based group said to be in talks to buy Spanish rival, although analysts are skeptical about such a deal.

Anne Morris

September 25, 2020

2 Min Read
Vodafone mulling Másmóvil takeover – report

Vodafone has started talks to buy Spanish rival Másmovil with the three buyout funds that recently acquired Spain's fourth-largest operator, according to a report in El Economista newspaper.

The report said Vodafone has so far engaged in tentative talks with Lorca Telecom – a consortium comprising three private equity firms that now owns more than 86% of Másmóvil – via financial intermediaries. The value of a potential deal has been estimated at around €6 billion (US$7 billion).

El Economista cited sources close to the situation, while noting that Vodafone has refused to comment and Másmóvil indicated that there is no relationship with Vodafone with regard to corporate operations.

Reuters said that analysts were skeptical about the prospects of such a deal.

"We are highly doubtful," Jefferies said in a note. "We repeat our view that the opposite – Vodafone selling its Spanish business to a delisted Másmóvil – is much more plausible."

Certainly, Vodafone Group has tended towards offloading assets or reducing its footprint of late. It is still trying to sell its stake in Vodafone Egypt, for example, and has already exited Fiji, Malta, New Zealand and Qatar and reduced links in Australia, India and Kenya.

The Group is also planning to list Vantage Towers in Germany in 2021 as part of efforts to monetize its tower assets in Europe.

Spanish heat
Spain is certainly a hotly contested market, particularly now that it has five players after Euskaltel began a program of national expansion under the Virgin brand. Telefónica is the market leader under the Movistar brand, followed by Orange Spain and Vodafone Spain.

A merger of the third and fourth players would have a significant impact on the top two operators.

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading.

El Economista noted that a Vodafone-Másmóvil merger would push Orange Spain into third place, while also creating a new mobile leader with a market share of 36.5%.

According to Spanish regulator CNMC, Telefónica had a 30.24% share of the Spanish mobile market in May 2020, followed by Orange with a 24.5% share, Vodafone with 22.87% and Másmóvil with 13.88%.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Anne Morris

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist, editor and translator. She has been working in the telecommunications sector since 1996, when she joined the London-based team of Communications Week International as copy editor. Over the years she held the editor position at Total Telecom Online and Total Tele-com Magazine, eventually leaving to go freelance in 2010. Now living in France, she writes for a number of titles and also provides research work for analyst companies.

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