Vodafone has lodged a bid for Spanish cable operator Ono, various news sites reported recently, although there has been no official comment from either party.
The U.K.-based mobile operator has made an offer that will be discussed by Ono's directors at a board meeting on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
The newswire's sources did not detail the size of the offer, but pointed out that Ono has an enterprise value of around €7 billion.
However, Spanish publication Expansion expanded on the story, claiming that Vodafone has made a bid of around €6.9 billion for 100% of the cable operator.
Should Ono accept the offer its shareholders would end up with €3.48 billion, since the company has debt of €3.42 billion, Expansion said. Nonetheless, that represents a decent return for equity firms CCMP, Providence, Thomas H. Lee and Quadrangle, which together control 54% of Ono. They would get €1.8 billion from the sale, having invested €1 billion in capital in 2005, the paper said.
Vodafone is keen to bulk up its European mobile units with fixed assets. In October it completed a €7.7 billion tender offer to take control of Kabel Deutschland, but until now its strategy for Spain appeared to be to build, rather than buy.
Its Spanish unit and that of and rival operator Orange are co-investing in a €1 billion fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network with which they aim to pass 6 million premises across 50 major cities by September 2017.
There are no guarantees that Vodafone will succeed in its bid for Ono though.
The company's owners have been examining the prospect of an IPO and might still continue with that plan.