Vodafone Group struck a deal worth €8 billion to sell its Italian business to Swisscom, a move CEO Margherita Della Valle described as the third and final step towards reshaping its European operations.

Della Valle has made significant moves to simplify Vodafone’s business in Europe and the proposed exit in Italy follows an agreement to sell its operations in Spain to Zegona Communications in a deal worth up to €5 billion.

It is also going through a rigorous regulatory process to seal a merger of its UK business with CK Hutchison-owned 3 UK.

Vodafone Italy entered exclusive talks with Swisscom about a sale in Italy last month and the €8 billion sum will be paid upfront in cash.

As part of the deal, Vodafone will also provide certain services to Swisscom for up to five years, for a sum of approximately €350 million for the first year after the deal is completed.

Should the Spanish and Italian deals be cleared, Vodafone stated it would return €4 billion to shareholders in share buy-backs, consisting of €2 billion from each sale.

Going forward, Della Valle said its business “will be operating in growing telco markets, where we hold strong positions, enabling us to deliver predictable, stronger growth in Europe”.

Organisation shake-up
From 1 April, Vodafone said it will implement an organisational shake-up to operate in five business divisions: Germany; European Markets; Africa; Vodafone Business; and Vodafone Investments.

Reflecting the revision, Vodafone made numerous changes.

Ahmed Essam, most recently CEO of its UK business, was appointed executive chair of Vodafone Germany and CEO of European Markets.

Current CCO Max Taylor will take over the UK CEO position.

Meanwhile, Philippe Rogge, CEO of Vodafone Germany, stepped down and will leave the company, being replaced by Marcel de Groot.

Finally, Serpil Timuray, most recently CEO of its Other Europe division, was appointed CEO of Vodafone Investments.