Vodafone will buy the Spanish cable company Ono for £6 billion, including debt. Ono has the largest next-generation network in Spain, passing 7.2 million homes and serving 1.9 million customers across the country. Ono has 790,000 digital television customers, 320,000 of which have TiVo.
Vodafone will refocus its own fibre network rollout on areas where Ono has limited or no network presence, passing 1.5 million homes, giving it access to up to 10 million homes across Spain.
Telefónica, the incumbent national operator, has 670,000 digital television customers in Spain.
Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao said: “The combination of Vodafone and Ono creates a leading integrated communications provider in Spain and represents an attractive value creation opportunity for Vodafone. Demand for unified communications products and services has increased significantly over the last few years in Spain, and this transaction – together with our fibre-to-the-home build programme – will accelerate our ability to offer best-in-class propositions in the Spanish market.”
José María Castellano Ríos, the chairman of Grupo Corporativo Ono, said: “As part of Vodafone, Ono will continue to seize new growth opportunities and deliver the quality that our customers expect. The enlarged business is also expected to drive innovation in the Spanish telecommunications industry.”
The announcement ends plans for the private equity-backed Ono to list in Madrid.
This is the second acquisition by Vodafone in six months, having previously agreed to buy a controlling stake in the German cable company Kabel Deutschland for £6.6 billion.
There is renewed interest in mergers and acquisitions in the cable sector, driven by the adoption of broadband and the opportunities for converged communications services.
Vodafone has significant reserves to spend on strategic acquisitions, following the sale of its business in the United States for £77 billion.
Based in Britain, where it started as mobile network operator born out of Racal Electronics in 1982, Vodafone now has over 450 million customers worldwide.