French telecoms operator Iliad has tabled a bid for Vodafone’s Italian operation just a week after Vodafone boss Nick Read indicated he was gearing up for a period of dealmaking.
The French telecoms giant, backed by billionaire Xavier Niel, submitted a bid to Vodafone’s board last week, Bloomberg reported citing sources close to the deal.
FTSE 100 Vodafone has indicated that it has been eyeing up a number of potential mergers as it guns for more consolidation in the sprawling European telecoms market, with boss Nick Read telling investors last week that the firm was in talks in “multiple markets”.
The UK, Spain, Italy and Portugal were the primary targets for potential mergers, Read said on Wednesday.
Read has been under pressure after it was revealed that notorious activist investor Cevian Capital had taken a stake in the firm, with the investor reportedly agitating for more consolidation of the telecoms market and a shakeup at board level.
Cevian has reportedly argued that the Vodafone board lacks the industry experience to provide effective challenge to executive decision making.
The pressure comes after years of perceived underperformance in Vodafone’s share price. Shares in the firm rose as high as 2.3 per cent today before falling to close up 0.2 per cent.