Vodafone buys Ono in £6bn deal

<p>Vodafone is expanding further into the European market.</p>

Vodafone has confirmed it is moving further into the European market today (March 17th), after the company announced the purchase of a competitor from Spain.

The firm revealed it has set up a deal to buy the Spanish cable operator Ono, with the agreement reported to be worth as much as 7.2 billion euros (£6 billion).

Vodafone has been making serious strides into the European market in the last few months and the purchase of Ono comes only a few months after the company confirmed it had bought a controlling stake in German cable operator Kabel.

The company is cash-rich at the present time as a result of the massive sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless, which allowed it to raise £84 billion. Vodafone is now planning to spend around £25 billion of this windfall on strengthening its position as one of the leading telecoms operators in Europe.

Ono future

Jose Maria Castellano Rios, chairman of Ono's board of directors, said the enlarged business is going to help to "drive innovation in the Spanish telecommunications industry".

Ono's private equity owners had been considering a plan to float the company on the Madrid stock exchange, but Vodafone was able to jump in and get a deal done for the firm before any proposals could be approved by the company.

Vodafone is already one of Europe's strongest mobile phone and cable operators and investors will now be keeping a close eye on the company to see which rivals it looks to snap up in the next few months.

In the early stages of trading this morning on the London Stock Exchange, the share price of Vodafone is slightly up compared to the start of the session. By 08:29 GMT, stocks in the firm were more than one per cent up for the day and were still rising steadily.

Last month, Vodafone revealed that it now has 500,000 customers on its Red 4G plans, with the announcement being made by the firm just six months after they went on sale.

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