CWW shareholder signals support for Vodafone deal ahead of today’s vote

18 June 2012 |

According to reports, Vodafone’s £1.63 billion offer for CWW looks certain to be passed later today as the target’s largest shareholder declared that it will support the deal.

Orbis Investment Management, which has a 19% stake in CWW, had previously refused to show its support for the agreement, raising fears that the deal would not receive the required 75% backing of shareholders.

Support from Orbis comes just hours ahead of the scheduled CWW shareholders meeting later today to decide the fate of the deal. Orbis had previously pressed for Vodafone to increase its offer beyond 38p share but has now said it’s “opposition would only serve to prolong the process”.

“We believe that the CWW scheme of arrangement will eventually succeed, even if Orbis were to vote against it today,” Orbis said in a statement. “This is not in the interests of any CWW stakeholder.”

Vodafone has threatened to walk away from CWW unless it wins full support for its plans. Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of CWW was expected to spell the end of low prices and bespoke solutions for the fixed-line operator’s corporate enterprise customers.

Analysts have warned that Vodafone could seek to impose a more profit-driven culture at CWW as part of a strategy to bolster revenues.