Belgacom acquires Vodafone share in Proximus for $2.6b

Belgium's Belgacom has agreed to buy Vodafone Group's 25% stake in Proximus for 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion), giving it full control of the mobile operator, an Associated Press report said.

The report quoted Belgacom as saying that it expected the deal to add 6% to 7% to next year's earnings, citing "significant synergies" and tax savings as it struggled with falling revenue from its main market - traditional telephone calls.

It said it would finance the buyout with a bridge loan in the short term and a possible bond offering in the long term, according to the report.It would also use the 67 million euros ($86 million) it would receive by selling off its 5.8% stake in French telecom firm Neuf Cegetel. France's second largest mobile operator, SFR, had agreed to buy Neuf Cegetel in a decision announced earlier, the report said.

Belgacom said these deals were part of its plan to focus on its core market, saying it would continue to roll out new services such as digital TV and broadband Internet in Belgium, the report added.

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