Spanish cable operator Ono said its board did not discuss any purchase proposals in its regular meeting, despite a €7 billion ($9.5 billion) bid having been tabled by Vodafone.
It did discuss its progress towards a stock market listing, however, with 13 March set as the date for the next general shareholders’ meeting in which the IPO could be formally approved.
Sources told The Telegraph that there was a split of opinion on the Ono board about whether to consider the Vodafone offer.
The news could be seen as a blow for Vodafone, which is interested in Ono as part of its quad-play strategy where it faces competition in the fight for Europe’s cable assets from Liberty Global.
The mobile operator’s offer of €6.9 billion for 100 per cent of Ono’s share capital is split between a payment to shareholders (€3.48 billion) and reducing debt (€3.42 billion), according to sources.
The statement from Ono could prompt Vodafone to up its offer. Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said earlier this week that the company could have the capacity to spend $30 billion to $40 billion on acquisitions over the next two years.
There is a possibility that Liberty Global could launch a rival bid although the statement from the board meeting suggests this option is not currently being considered.
Expansion previously reported that private equity groups CCMP, Providence, Thomas H. Lee and Quadrangle, which together control 54 per cent of Ono, would see a strong return on an investment made in 2005 if they sold to Vodafone. An IPO was reported to be favoured by some shareholders.