Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) is aggressively pursuing expansion in the European market. Recently, the company approached Germany's largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland Holding AG for acquisition. The British telecom operator is also looking to buy Fastweb S.p.A. in Italy to strengthen its internet and fixed line business in Europe, people familiar with the matter told Aaron Kirchfeld, Jeffrey McCracken and Daniele Lepido of Bloomberg.
Vodafone Has a Long List of Targets
Fastweb S.p.A. is a unit of Swisscom AG (OTCMKTS:SCMWY). Sources said that Fastweb is one of several potential targets of Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) as the world's second largest telecom company ramps up its investments in Europe. For now, the British company is focused entirely on the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland, which is valued at more than $9 billion.
Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) owns a 45 percent stake in the U.S. telecom operator Verizon Wireless. But now Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), which holds the other 55 percent stake, wants to dissolve the joint venture to gain full control over Verizon Wireless. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) values Vodafone's 45 percent stake at around $115 billion. If successful, it will be one of the biggest deals in the history of the telecom industry. Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) is exploring how to use those proceeds.
Vodafone Has Approached Fastweb Twice Before
Sources said that Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) has approached Fastweb's parent company with an offer twice before, both of which have been rejected by Swisscom AG (OTCMKTS:SCMWY). The Swiss company purchased Fastweb in 2007 to counterbalance the slowing growth in the Swiss market.
Swisscom AG (OTCMKTS:SCMWY) has decided to cut costs by 120 million euros at Fastweb by 2014 through organizational optimization, bad-debt management and slashing the number of managers. Fastweb almost doubled its customer gains in 2012 by bundling broadband and TV packages in collaboration with Sky Italia Srl. Fastweb reported 97 million euros in the first quarter earnings on revenues of 398 million euros.