Apollo, JB Capital latest to enter race to buy Vodafone’s Spanish business

Apollo, JB Capital latest to enter race to buy Vodafone’s Spanish business

Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany - April 12, 2020: Logo of Vodafo

Spanish newspaper, Expansion, has reported that US based Apollo Global Management and local fund JB Capital are the latest to enter the race to buy Vodafone’s Spanish business.

Vodafone Group CEO Margherita Della Valle kick started a strategic review of the Spanish unit earlier this year. After taking the top job in April, she announced a structural review of the Spanish unit and suggested a sale was on the cards as the market faced intense price competition.

In September, Capacity reported that UK investment firm Zegona said it was in talks with Vodafone over buying the business.

Expansion said unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter told them Apollo and JB Capital were now preparing a bid, with Vodafone Spain potentially being valued at 5 billion euros.

Valuations have fluctuated over the past two years, now down from the 7.5 billion euros it was reported that MasMovil were willing to pay in 2021.

Initial reports that a deal was in the works valued Vodafone Spain at 4 billion euros.

Spain is home to four main mobile network operators. Vodafone and MasMovil are joined by Orange Spain, whom MasMovil are trying to merge with, and Telefonica.

Spanish authorities are reviewing a 9.9% equity stake in Telefonica from state owned Saudi MNO stc group, while the European Commission are conducting their own investigation into the Orange/MasMovil merger.

The probe was scheduled to be completed by August 2023, but put on pause by the European Commission in June.

Telefonica and Vodafone were also in talks over the former making a bid to acquire internet broadband networks, as Angel Vila, COO of Telefonica told Bloomberg news in July they had made a number of offers and that the ball was in Vodafone’s court.

Given the European commission’s fears that consolidation would lead to adverse pricing for consumers, it seems unlikely that a sale to a large competitor such as Telefonica would be approved.

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