Vodafone Group has said there were no discussions underway on the sale of its majority stake in Vodacom, as rumours emerged it was mulling ways to make money from its interest in the Africa-focused operator.
Bloomberg reported Vodafone and its advisers were in the early stages of considering options for the holding including merging units with other operators; divesting assets in some markets; or selling a stake in the whole business.
Vodafone issued a statement: “Vodacom is a strong business that is an important part of Vodafone. There are no discussions ongoing in relation to a potential sale.”
The operator raised its interest in Vodacom to 65.1 per cent in December 2022 after closing a deal to transfer its shareholding in Vodafone Egypt business to the Africa group.
Bloomberg’s report on the future of Vodacom comes at a time when Vodafone is still without a permanent CEO and continues to make changes to its business with the aim of simplifying it and delivering growth.
However, recent efforts to improve performance have been focused on Europe, including considering combining its UK unit with rival 3.
In its latest trading update, for fiscal Q3 2023 (calendar Q4 2022), the company pointed to Vodacom as a bright spot, citing strong demand for mobile financial services and increased data usage.
Despite the period of transition, Vodafone has been attracting big name backers with e& building its stake in recent months and Liberty Global disclosing the purchase of an almost 5 per cent share earlier this week.