We have been hearing rumors for many months about the possible sale of Vodafone Spain, rumors that intensified especially last May, when the Group began a “strategic review” process of the Spanish subsidiary.
The teleco has maintained at all times that they were considering all possible options, and one of those options, of course, was partial or total sale of Vodafone Spain. Well, that possibility now gains more strength than ever with a proper name: Zegona.
The news was announced by Expansión, but shortly afterwards Zegona itself confirmed to the London Stock Exchange that it is in negotiations with the Vodafone Group and with several banks for the “potential acquisition” of Vodafone Spain. And who is Zegona? At Telecable they know her well.
A valuation of more than 5,000 million euros
As reported by Expansión, the British fund Zegona has been maintaining contacts with investment banks for weeks to obtain the necessary financing to acquire Vodafone Spain, whose total valuation would be above 5,000 million euros.
Zegona’s plans, always according to Expansión, would not involve purchasing 100% of the Spanish subsidiary, but rather reaching an agreement with the Vodafone Group to distribute the capital 50%. It would be a maneuver similar to the one Vodafone carried out in Netherlands, where Ziggo Vodafone shares 50% with the American Liberty.
In response to this news, Zegona suspended its listing on the London Stock Exchange at 8 a.m. and issued a statement confirming “that it is in talks with Vodafone Group in relation to the potential acquisitionand with banks in relation to their financing”.
However, it has clarified that this “potential acquisition remains subject, among other things, to an agreement on the final terms with Vodafone.” And he added that “there is no certainty that the potential acquisition will occur, nor as to the final terms of such potential acquisition.”
Zegona, old acquaintance of the Spanish telco sector
As we said at the beginning, if the operation is completed, it would not be the first time we see Zegona in the Spanish market. This British fund was founded by Eamonn O’Hare and Robart Samuelson, former directors of Virgin Media.
The company’s objective is, as they define themselves, “to acquire businesses in the European telecommunications, media and technology sector with a strategy of ‘buy-repair-sell’ to offer attractive returns to shareholders.” In other words, they buy companies to make them grow and, once squeezed, they sell them, reporting profits to their investors.
Zegona’s objective is to buy companies to make them grow and, once squeezed, sell them again, reporting profits to its investors.
That is precisely what he did with Telecable in 2015. When Zegona acquired it for 640 million euros, O’Hare assured that by using his experience at Virgin Media, they would turn Telecable “into a powerful competitor that provides a great service to its customers and shareholders.”
Two years later, in 2017, the Euskaltel Group bought Telecable for 700 million euros and Zegona took 15% of Euskaltel’s shares, becoming the main shareholder of the Basque teleco. We already know the next step: the MásMóvil Group took over the Euskatel Group in 2021 for 2,000 million euros.
In 2019, Zegona also tried to buy Yoigo and began talks with TeliaSonera for it, but in the end it was Grupo MásMóvil who won the prize for 612 million euros (Zegona’s offer was 453 million). Now, the name of Zegona is once again making waves in the Spanish telecommunications sector.
If the negotiations with Vodafone finally come to fruition, we would be talking about Zegona’s biggest operation to date in our country. From Xataka, we have tried to contact Vodafone Spain to find out their opinion on the matter. When we have a response, we will update the information.
Images | Zegona and Vodafone
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