Vodafone to increase stake in South African Vodacom

Vodafone has offered $2.4 billion to increase its 35 percent stake in South African carrier Vodacom to 50 percent. The company claims it is the only offer on the table for holding company VenFin, which owns a 15 percent stake in Vodacom. The deal would put Vodafone and Telkom South Africa in joint control of Vodacom. South Africa has a mobile penetration rate of 57 percent. Vodacom claims 17.2 million subscribers in South Africa, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Lesotho.

If the deal goes through, the acquisition is the latest in Vodafone's many moves in emerging markets. Last week the company bought a 10 percent stake in India's Bharti Tele-Ventures for $1.5 billion, and yesterday Vodafone announced the sale of Vodafone Sweden to Telenor for $1.8 billion. The even swap made good market sense--a crowded market for an emerging one. As South Africa and surrounding countries enter the picture, Vodafone itself is emerging as a strategic shopper.

For more on Vodafone's shopping spree:
- see this AP article

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