UK-based telecom giant Vodafone is in talks to merge its UK operations with Three UK, owned by Hong Kong’s CK Hutchinson as per FT reports. FT said that Europe’s largest activist fund Cevian Capital put pressure on Vodafone to simplify its portfolio and enhance its strategy in key markets to boost returns. In February, Vodafone CEO Nick Read said that the company was pursuing mergers with rivals in multiple European markets, with favorable signals from regulators realizing the value of network investment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, global infrastructure funds approached Vodafone to invest in its $16bn Vantage Towers but Vodafone was instead looking for an industry merger. Sources said that Vodafone had expressed interest in Three UK late last year but the talks did not lead to an agreement. A deal between Vodafone and CK Hutchinson has been speculated for years as they have teamed up in markets such as Australia.
Vodafone’s dollar bonds were lower with its 4.125% 2025 down 0.3 points to 101.37, yielding 3.65%.
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