The news just hit the wires: Vodafone Group has agreed to sell its stake in its struggling Japanese unit to Softbank Corp. for $11.87 billion in cash. The deal announced on Friday values Vodafone Japan at around 1.8 trillion yen ($15.30 billion) including debt and will allow Vodafone to return 6 billion pounds to shareholders.
Editor’s note: This news will be all over the Web in a few minutes. What a sad end to what could have been a highly valuable synergistic move into the world’s most advanced 3G market! Defeated by fickle consumers, the lack of a low-end tier in the segment, and the challenge of coordinating terminals and technologies across borders, Vodafone is heading home. The price of the deal, a whopping 15 billion bucks, proves that Vodafone KK is a valuable commodity — in the right hands. — Eds.
It has become increasingly clear that the greatest operational benefits come from strong local and regional scale, said Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin. In the case of Japan, we have been making progress on the turnaround in recent months.
However, given the relative competitive position of the business, the reduced prospects for superior long-term returns and a good offer from SoftBank, the board took the decision to sell, he added.