Vodafone bids ?8bn for control of France's SFR

While we’re all waiting for the US wireless industry consolidation to begin, Vodafone’s pursuit of SFR is providing good pre-show entertainment. Vodafone has followed up its offer for Vivendi’s 44% stake in SFR parent Cegatel with offers on BT’s and SBC’s stakes. If it were not for Vivendi’s involvement, this deal would look like any other Vodafone buy-out deal. But Vivendi has right of first-refusal to buy the BT and SBC stakes. The problem is that Vivendi’s weak financial position may make it hard for them to buy additional interest in Cegatel. If they do decide to increase their share in Cegetel, Vivendi puts itself in the precarious position of betting the company on wireless. And that is one tough sell right now.

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