Vodafone to buy cable operator Ono for 7.2 billion euros
British carrier wants to enter Spain’s TV market to offset declining wireless service revenues
The British-owned telecommunications company Vodafone on Monday confirmed it will purchase the cable operator Ono for 7.2 billion euros. The deal represents the largest acquisition by a foreign company in Spain since 2008.
For the world’s second-largest wireless operator, the move opens the door to the cable TV business, which offers more opportunities for profits than the highly competitive mobile device market.
The Spanish stock market, which had been expecting this “absolutely strategic” operation, which is aimed at competing with rivals Telefónica and Orange, welcomed the news with a one-percent rise in Vodafone’s share price.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Vodafone noted that Ono is Spain’s largest cable company, with 1.9 million customers in 12 regions and its own high-speed fiber-optic network. Following the deal, Vodafone’s broadband market share will rise from 7.5 percent to 21 percent, according to figures released by both companies in late 2013. The British company will also gain Ono’s 1.1 million mobile service customers, pushing its market share up from 24.8 percent to more than 26 percent.
For consumers, the deal means that three operators – Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange – will control over 90 percent of the mobile and broadband market by revenue and between 70 and 80 percent by customer base.