Sarin wants more acquisitions before stepping aside

Having survived plans to unseat him for wasting shareholders money, Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin's strategy of investing in emerging markets has paid off--and he is now looking for more, even as he steps aside.

Announcing his plan to move on, Sarin reiterated Vodafone's interest in securing control of Vodacom, South Africa's largest mobile operator, which it jointly owns with Telkom, the country's leading fixed-line business. He added: "We will get the Africa stuff done, we will get the Asia stuff done, we will get the Internet stuff done." This last point was seen by analysts as a hint to making further acquisitions to boost Vodafone's ability to provide Internet services on mobiles. The company spent around US$35 million last month purchasing Zyb, a Danish social networking company, and similar deals are thought to be under discussion.

The company is also considered to be in pole position to buy Tiscali, the Milan-listed company that supplies fixed-line broadband services in the U.K. and Italy and has a market capitalisation of €1.4 billion. If successful, Vodafone would then have fixed-line broadband operations in all four of its core European markets: Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.

For more on this story:
- read and Ovum

Related stories:
Vodafone makes first mobile Internet acquisition. Zyb story 
Top Emerging Global Wireless Markets. Emerging markets report