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Deal continues Vodafone’s drive into Europe’s fiber optics broadband market

MADRID – Vodafono.

Driving ever more into the fiber optics market in Europe, U.K. telco Vodafone has acquired Spain’s biggest cable operator Ono. Price paid, on a debt and cash basis, is €7.2 billion ($10.0 billion).

For weeks, Ono’s management had downplayed reported overtures from Vodafone, insisting it would go ahead with a planned Initial Public Offering (IPO). The Vodafone price  is good enough, however, to have swayed it: Ten times operating free cash flow, par for the course for recent telco/cable deals in Europe.

Cash flush after selling its 45% stake in U.S. mobile operator Verizon Communications, Vodafone’s Spanish move comes just five months after it completed a $10 billion takeover of German top cabler Kabel Deutschland.

“Ono has the largest next-generation network in Spain with approximately 7.2 million homes released to marketing serving 1.9 million customers in 13 of Spain’s 17 regions,” Vodafone said in a statement Monday.

“It is the market leader in high speed broadband, offering superior speeds and the most innovative pay-TV service in Spain. The network has abundant spare capacity and a future-proof fibre architecture,” the statement added.

With Telefonica aiming to ramp up its TV contents offer in order to double pay TV clients in Spain, a battle royale look set to be served there for high-speed broadband clients. Economic recovery remains sluggish. But high-speed broadband connections are now the latest rage.

Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this article

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