Vodafone's £1bn bid for troubled telecoms group Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) is back on track after major CWW shareholder Orbis did a u-turn and agreed to back the deal.
The operator’s bid had been thrown into doubt over the weekend after reports emerged that Canadian investment group Orbis, which holds a 17% stake in CWW, was refusing to back Vodafone’s bid and that support for the deal was falling. Vodafone needs 75% of shareholder votes for the deal to go ahead.
However in an eleventh hour turnaround, Orbis agreed to back the 38p per share offer, which will see Vodafone become the UK's second largest telecoms operator behind BT.
A statement from Orbis explaining its turnaround said its ‘opposition would only serve to prolong the process.’
Orbis’ change of strategy followed a warning by Vodafone at the weekend that it would drop the bid rather than change its structure to suit Orbis, which had wanted to retain its stake in CWW as part of the deal. However, Vodafone has made it clear it wants complete control so that it can merge the CWW network into its own.