Vodafone is on the verge of agreeing the sale of its minority stake in French carrier SFR to Vivendi for £7 billion (€8.2 billion)
The sale of the 44% holding will pave the way for a £5 billion share buy-back Vodafone plans for 2011, and would hand Vivendi full control of the cellco, The Guardian reports.
Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy last month cautioned he would not pay over the odds for SFR despite anticipated benefits to the French media firm’s dividends.
Vodafone is also tipped to offload its 24% stake in Polish carrier Polkomtel, The Guardian added, as part of CEO Vittorio Colao’s strategy to ditch minority holdings in favor of core markets in Europe, Africa and India.
News of the sale could anger protestors in the UK who again blockaded Vodafone stores over the weekend over claims the carrier underpaid a tax bill relating to its acquisition of Mannesmann in 2000.