Rumour mill: Vodafone seen as potential bidder for Spain's Yoigo

Vodafone's share price rose 1.6 per cent on market rumours that the company, along with France Telecom and America Movil, will make an offer for TeliaSonera's stake in the Spanish mobile operator Yoigo.

TeliaSonera has hired Deutsche Bank to manage the sale of its 76 per cent stake in Yoigo, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, in a deal that would value the sale at €1 billion.

The sources suggested that Vodafone and France Telecom are being viewed as the more likely bidders for the Spanish operator.

TeliaSonera is said to be interested in disposing of its Yoigo holding as it refocuses investments into Scandinavian and higher-growth central Asia.

Both Vodafone and France Telecom see the Spanish market as important, and the acquisition of Yoigo--the most aggressive on price--would allow both operators to compete more effectively with market leader Telefonica.

"Vodafone and France Telecom would be conceptually interested and both have the capacity to do a relatively modest acquisition," Guy Peddy, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, told Reuters.

However, France Telecom's CEO Stephane Richard stated earlier this year that there would be little M&A activity this year and that the group needed to be careful managing its debt.

Speculation on the likelihood of America Movil making a bid revolves around the price Carlos Slim might be willing to pay to enter the Spanish market. However, with TeliaSonera being cash rich, having sold its stake in Russia's MegaFon, Reuters claimed that the telco is in no rush to accept cut-price offers for Yoigo.

Yoigo was awarded the country's fourth mobile license in 2000, with many of its original shareholders selling out to TeliaSonera after it struggled to launch its network.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Sharecast article

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