Vodafone tables £5.8bn bid for Ono
Mobile phone operator Vodafone has reportedly tabled a seven billion euro (£5.8 billion) bid for Spanish cable company Ono as it attempts to revive its European business.
The report suggests the UK-based group is preparing to spend some of the proceeds of its 130 billion US dollar (£78 billion) sale of its stake in US mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless.
It comes days after chief executive Vittorio Colao said the Verizon deal would leave Vodafone well positioned and with "the financial and strategic flexibility to make further investments in the business or returns to shareholders in the future".
Sources told the Sunday Times that the formal offer for Ono will be discussed by the Spanish firm's board on Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, Vodafone has for several weeks been negotiating with its backers including buyout firms and the industrial giant GE. Vodafone declined to comment.
But the Ono move if confirmed would underline its desire to shore up its operations by acquiring cable companies after it snapped up Germany's Kabel Deutschland last year.
It comes after Vodafone's latest quarterly trading figures showed that while it was growing strongly in emerging markets such as India, its European business was weighed down by economic conditions, competition, and regulator-imposed price changes.
Revenues were down 9.6% for the region, with the UK down 5.1%, Italy off 16.6% and Spain falling 14.1%.
Meanwhile, the sector's focus is shifting towards "quad play", which involves providing bundles of phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV services.
In Britain, there has been talk of discussions with BSkyB over a fibre-optic alliance to ward off the growing strength of their common rival BT in super-fast broadband.