Swisscom Buys Vodafone’s Italia Business for €8bn (US$8.7bn)

After the all-cash deal with Swisscom was confirmed, Vodafone said it would return €4bn of capital to shareholders

Vodafone has confirmed that it is selling the Italian arm of its business to Swisscom for €8bn (US$8.7bn) cash, with plans to return €4bn (US$4.4bn) to shareholders.

In a move Vodafone is calling its ‘Reshaped European footprint’, the final step of its ‘portfolio right-sizing’ announced in May 2023.

Group Chief Executive Margherita Della Valle said: “Going forward, our businesses will be operating in growing telco markets — where we hold strong positions — enabling us to deliver predictable, stronger growth in Europe. This will be coupled with our acceleration in B2B, as we continue to take share in an expanding digital services market.

“The sale of Vodafone Italy to Swisscom creates significant value for Vodafone and ensures the business maintains its leading position in Italy, which has been built through the dedicated commitment of our colleagues to serving our customers over many years.”

Vodafone’s restructure

The transaction with Vodafone’s Italian division is one of a number of steps that Della Valle has taken to reposition Vodafone as it restructures in less profitable markets and follows the sale of Vodafone Spain to Zegona Communications in 2023. There is also a proposed merger between Vodaofne’s UK business and another major telco player, Three, which would create the UK’s largest mobile phone operator.

Della Valle continued: “Our transactions in Italy and Spain will deliver €12bn (US$13bn) of upfront cash proceeds and we intend to return €4bn (US$4.4bn) to shareholders via buybacks, as part of our broader capital allocation review.”

Margherita Della Valle

Selling the Italian branch, according to Della Valle, is the third and final step to facilitate “predictable, faster growth” for Vodafone across Europe.

From the €12bn (US$4.4bn) windfall from leaving Italy and Spain, a third of this will be returned to shareholders via buybacks, Della Valle also confirmed.

There had been other options for Vodafone Italia, including merging with the Italian business of French telco Iliad — but the idea was scrapped when regulatory concerns arose.

Off the back of recent geographic changes, Vodafone announced its renewed focus on growing markets in Europe, with a determination for accelerated performance and created value.

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