HomeFinancial/RegulationVodafone stock leaps as Iliad founder Xavier Niel takes stake

    Vodafone stock leaps as Iliad founder Xavier Niel takes stake


    Midas of telecoms asked Atlas to carry investment through

    Xavier Niel, maverick founder and majority owner of the Iliad group of mobile network operators which are making a huge impact in PolandItaly and France, has bought a 2.5% stake in Britain’s Vodafone. The investment vehicle Niel used, Atlas Investissement, described Vodafone as an “attractive investment opportunity, as per the quality of its assets portfolio and the solid underlying trends in the global telecommunications sector”, reports Reuters.

    Shares in Vodafone immediately rose 1.5% to 108 pence in a frenzy of early trading this morning, as the word spread about the involvement of the French billionaire telecoms midas. Atlas claims on its web site that it appeals to crowdfunding from investors who wish to help bring projects to fruition. It said it was supportive of Vodafone’s publicly stated intention to pursue consolidation opportunities, as well as its efforts in infrastructure separation.

    In February ME reported that Vodafone had rejected an €11.25 billion offer for its Italian business from Iliad and Apax Partners, saying it was not in the best interest of its shareholders. In May ME reported that Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat now known as e&) bought a 9.8% stake in Vodafone for €4.22 billion (£3.6bn). It said it plans to consolidate efforts by cutting waste and jointly launching new products and services, according to Etisalat Group CEO Hatem Dowidar, a former Vodafone chief of staff in London.

    Italy has been one of the most competitive markets in Europe since Iliad’s disruptive entry in 2018.  In August when Iliad’s Q2 figures were declared, it revealed that its best growth results were for Iliad Italy where revenues for the six months to June 30 rose 15.4% on the year to €442 million. In April it signed a network-sharing agreement with rival Wind Tre, owned by conglomerate Hutchinson, in order to cover non-metropolitan areas. and 257,000 new mobile customers in Italy despite a “fiercely competitive environment”.

    Niel has telecoms investments in nine countries in Europe with nearly 50 million active subscribers and more than 10 billion euros of revenue, Atlas said. Atlas Investissement has confirmed that it is independent of the Iliad Group.