China Mobile Said to Be Considering Buying a Large Stake in Vodafone
Published on: 27th Jan 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
China Mobile may be considering buying a large minority stake in Vodafone as the two companies look to work together in developing countries.
Citing financial sources, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that China Mobile could be looking at taking a stake of between 5 to 20 percent in Vodafone.
They added that the Chinese firm also wanted to set up a joint venture with Vodafone to target the African market as the UK company has a strong presence in a number of countries there.
The two companies worked together on a recent bid for a mobile license in Myanmar, but dropped out of bidding after concluding that the deal did not meet their "strict internal investment criteria".
China Mobile has made no secret of its desire to expand overseas, and has a sizeable investment in Pakistan. However a deal by a company that is majority owned by the Chinese government to buy a large stake in Vodafone would almost certainly sound regulatory alarm-bells in Europe.
However, it should be noted that Vodafone was itself previously a shareholder in China Mobile's listed subsidiary. It sold that 3.2% stake back in 2010, although the two companies still maintain a technology cooperation agreement.
On the web: Mail on Sunday