€7.2bn Ono: Vodafone buys Spanish broadband firm

The British mobile operator has put paid to any plans for Ono to list: after several failed attempts, the two companies have finally made a deal.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 03 Apr 2014

After months of dancing around, Vodafone and Spanish broadband giant Ono have announced a deal. Vodafone will pay €7.2bn (£6bn) for the Spanish firm.

This has been a storyline of fairytale proportions: first it was on, then it became a love triangle when US cable firm Liberty Media was said to be sniffing around, then it was definitely off when Ono decided to IPO instead (which it was still insisting was its plan until this weekend), now it's on again.

You can see why Vodafone was determined to seal the deal: with 1.9 million household customers, Ono has the largest high-speed broadband network in Spain (plus 'the most innovative pay-TV service', apparently, although we're not sure quite how you measure that).

The deal shows just how serious Vodafone is about expanding into Europe: less than six months ago it bought Kabel Deutschland, the German cable operator, for €7.7bn, and in March last year it signed a €1bn deal with Orange to build fibre broadband networks in Spain.

Chief exec Vittorio Colao said the deal will help the company in its mission to conquer Europe.

'Demand for unified communications products and services has increased significantly over the last few years in Spain, and this transaction - together with our fibre-to-the-home build programme - will accelerate our ability to offer best-in-class propositions in the Spanish market,' he said.

Will the two live happily ever after? Our guess is Ono isn't Vodafone's last European Prince Charming....

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