The deal for Vodafone to buy German cable company Kabel Deutschland has cleared the major hurdle of 75 per cent of Kabel shareholders agreeing to sell their shares to the UK group.
The news follows mounting speculation that the threshold would not be reached, throwing the €7.7 billion deal into doubt.
Vodafone said in a statement that the 75 per cent minimum acceptance condition had been met and that shareholders who have failed to tender their shares so far will have a chance to do so in a second tender period, which runs from 17 September until the end of the month.
Settlement of the offer will take place once the second tender period has closed and is subject to regulatory conditions including merger clearance from the European Commission, the first phase of which is due to be completed on 20 September.
Doubts surfaced earlier this week that an insufficient number of Kabel shareholders would tender their shares for sale by a deadline on Wednesday, with Vodafone saying there would be “no change to the conditions set out in our earlier announcement”.
The 75 per cent threshold was higher than other similar deals and Vodafone said on 10 September that it only had support from 20 per cent of Kabel shareholders. As often happens in these situations, a large proportion of shareholders clearly left their tenders to the final moment.
Vodafone agreed a €7.7 billion deal for Kabel Deutschland in June as it looks to offer both mobile and fixed line services as part of its quadplay strategy in Germany. Kabel’s management and supervisory board backed Vodafone’s offer at the beginning of August.
If the deal had failed at the first hurdle, Vodafone could have been prevented from making another bid for Kabel for 12 months.
Vodafone has said it will devote 20-25 per cent of a £6 billion fund it has earmarked for the Project Spring investment programme on fixed broadband. The fund has been created following the $130 billion sale of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless.
The company has been linked with other fixed network providers including Fastweb in Italy, Ziggo in the Netherlands and Spain’s Ono.