Vodafone boss Nick Read said today the firm is ready to go on a dealmaking offensive as the telecoms giant looks to drive returns for investors following pressure from activist investor Cevian Capital.
Read told investors at the firm’s third quarter trading update this morning that Vodafone was in talks in “multiple parties in multiple markets” as it looked to expand its portfolio.
“We are committed to creating value for our shareholders through proactive portfolio actions and continuing to improve returns at pace,” he said.
Read said that Vodafone’s “first phase” of restructuring, including a spin-off and listing of its German arm as Vantage Towers, had put it in a “strong position to capture growth opportunities that are emerging”.
The offensive footing comes after activist investor Cevian Capital piled pressure on bosses to improve returns for shareholders after sliding share performance at the FTSE 100 telecoms firm.
The Swedish activist investor has reportedly been engaging with the board for a number of months and is pushing for bosses to drive consolidation with mobile operators in telecoms markets including Spain, Italy and the UK, the Financial Times reported.
The third quarter results will provide a boon to Read as he looks to target acquisitions.
Vodafone showed growth of 2.7%, up from 2.4% in the previous three months and a performance that Read said showed the “sustainability of our growth strategy and medium-term ambition”.