LONDON (07/17/2000) - Vodafone AirTouch PLC has entered an agreement to take a majority interest in AirTel Movil SA, Spain's second largest mobile operator, the company said Monday.
Vodafone will increase its share in AirTel by 43.5 percent, bringing its total holdings to 65.2 percent. Under an agreement signed last month with British Telecommunications PLC (BT), Vodafone can hold up to 55 percent of the carrier, while BT can hold up to 45 percent. [See "BT, Vodafone to Increase Stake in AirTel," June 12.]As Vodafone would surpass its agreed 55 percent stake with the completion of this deal, BT would be eligible to purchase the additional 10.2 percent of AirTel. "We'll make the decision on whether to purchase as and when those options become available," said BT spokesman John Moggridge.
Vodafone will issue between 2.4 billion and 3.2 billion new shares, depending on the price of its own shares, to cover the purchase.
Vodafone's purchase of the additional shares is not expected to be completed before the fourth quarter of this year, Tim Brown, Investor Relations Director, said.
Vodafone AirTouch, in Newbury, England, can be reached at +44-1635-33251 or at http://www.vodafone-airtouch-plc.com/. AirTel Movil, in Vizcaya, can be reached at +34 -607-135701 or at http://www.airtel.com/.