Etisalat (e&) takes 9.8% stake in Vodafone for US$4.4 billion

Etisalat Group becomes biggest shareholder in Vodafone UK with 9.8pc stake

e& (formerly Etisalat) has bought 2.8bn Vodafone shares for around $4.4bn, becoming the company’s biggest shareholder

e& said it has no intention of making an offer for the takeover of Vodafone.

Etisalat’s decision to buy a 9.8pc stake for$4.4bn (£3.6bn) caught Nick Read, Chief Executive Officer of the Vodafone Group and other board members by surprise when it was announced in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Read has been struggling to simplify the group’s portfolio to support higher returns for its shareholders. Since Read signed on in 2018, the shares have fallen 20% and the group’s net debt has reached $46.1bn.

In a statement, e& boss Mr Dowidar praised Vodafone as “one of the leading businesses at the heart of digital communications in Europe and Africa”.

“Our investment represents a unique opportunity to acquire a significant stake in one of the leading and strongest global telecom brands, and a company that we know well.

“We are looking forward to building a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with Vodafone.”

Vodafone on Saturday noted the investment and said:

“We look forward to building a long-term relationship with Etisalat.

“We continue to make good progress with our long-term strategic plans.”