Liberty Global has announced that it has acquired 1,355 million shares in UK-based telecoms giant Vodafone Group, representing 4.92% of the outstanding share capital. However, the company, which invested 1.2 billion euros in the share, insisted that it has no plans to seek Vodafone board representation and claimed that no regulatory permits are necessary for an investment of this level.
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Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, commented, "We believe, like many others, that Vodafone's current share price does not reflect the underlying long-term value of their operating businesses or their announced consolidation and infrastructure opportunities. We continue to remain disciplined about our capital and fully expect that the equity used to fund this investment will be replenished with the sale of certain non-core assets over time."
"Liberty Global confirms that it is not considering an offer for Vodafone," the company stated. This is a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the UK Takeover Code applies.
Liberty Global's investment portfolio comprises over 75 companies and funds invested in various fields, including content, technology, and infrastructure. Vodafone is just one of the companies that Liberty Global has invested in, with other stakes held in companies such as ITV, Televisa Univision, AtlasEdge, Plume, and the Formula E racing series.
In recent months Vodafone has sold its Hungarian business for euros 1.7 billion to a state-controlled operation and its operation in Ghana for USD 900 million to Telecel.
One of the reasons why Nick Read resigned as CEO at the end of the previous year was the drop in the group's share price. The departure of Nick Read as CEO at the end of last year was replaced as interim CEO by CFO Margherita Della Valle.
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Liberty Global's businesses operate some of the best-known consumer brands, including Virgin Media-O2 in the UK, VodafoneZiggo in The Netherlands, Telenet in Belgium, Sunrise in Switzerland, Virgin Media in Ireland and UPC in Slovakia.