Vodafone has made an offer to acquire a further 15 percent stake in Vodacom, the South African mobile operator it jointly owns with regional fixed-line player Telkom. The ZAR22.5 billion (US$2.4 billion) offer will likely end months of negotiation between the parties. The proposed transaction would result in Vodafone owning 65 percent of Vodacom, South Africa’s largest mobile operator with 25 million connections and a 54 percent market share according to Wireless Intelligence. In a statement, Vodafone said the offer is subject to Telkom disposing of its remaining 35 percent shareholding in Vodacom through a listing on the JSE Securities Exchange. A statement from Telkom said both its board of directors and the South African government are supportive of the deal.

Vodafone believes the acquisition would give it “strong market positions in South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania.” The move follows its US$900 million acquisition of a 70 percent stake in Ghana Telecom in July. For Telkom, divesture of its Vodacom interests gives the fixed-line player an opportunity to further its push into the country’s mobile market. Although the company has a WCDMA license and has launched ‘fixed wireless’ WCDMA services, its stake in Vodacom has so far barred it from offering fully mobile services. Telkom itself has been the subject of a takeover bid by a consortium led by the Mvelaphenda Group. The Group initially insisted on Telkom divesting its stake in Vodacom in order for the takeover to proceed, but despite this week’s progress talks recently stalled due to “current market conditions and pricing considerations.”