Vodafone Group agreed to sell its operating company in Hungary for €1.8 billion as part of ongoing efforts to simplify its European portfolio and reduce debt.
The UK-based operator entered into heads of terms with Hungary-based IT service management company 4iG and state-holding company Corvinus for the potential acquisition of 100 per cent of Vodafone Hungary. The deal is subject to due diligence and regulatory approval, with completion targeted by the end of 2022.
Internal shared services division Vodafone Intelligent Solutions (VOIS) is not included in the transaction.
Vodafone CEO Nick Read stated the nation’s government “has a clear strategy to build a Hungarian owned national champion in the ICT sector”.
He added the combined entity “will increase competition and have greater access to investment to further the digitalisation of Hungary”.
4iG’s expansion drive
4iG will become the majority owner of Vodafone Hungary with 51 per cent, while the Hungarian state will own 49 per cent.
The aim is to create the market’s second-largest fixed and mobile operator which can better compete with Deutsche Telekom-owned Magyar Telekom as well as Yettel Hungary (formerly Telenor).
4iG already acquired the Hungarian assets of Digi Communications as part of its goal to establish a “national telecommunications platform” in partnership with broadcasting company Antenna Hungaria.
Gellert Jaszai, 4iG chairman and CEO (pictured), stated his group will have “one of the largest digital infrastructures in Hungary” and become “a significant player in Hungarian telecommunications for many decades to come”.
Vodafone Hungary currently has 3 million mobile, 700,000 TV, 700,000 broadband and 600,000 fixed voice subscribers.
4iG stated the resulting combined entity would have 5 million customers and 7.6 million revenue generating units (RGU) as of July 2022.