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Vodafone responds to the call

Vodafone announces its plans to take control of Japan Telecom, Japan's third-largest telecom operator.

In a deal that only came to light on September 16, confirmed by the parties involved on September 18, Vodafone has announced that it is planning to take control of Japan Telecom, Japan's third-largest telecom operator.

The transaction is a $2.64 billion tender offer for 21.7% of the company. It will take Vodafone's holding in J-T to 66.7%. The 66.7% is absolutely fundamental because to have ownership is to have management control. And with this, Vodafone also gets the jewel in the crown, the unlisted mobile phone operator J-Phone.

On October 11 the process will be over and all will be clearer. But as Euromoney went to press the signs were that Vodafone would prevail. "With a fair wind, the support of JR East, which will tender 10% of the shares, and the recommendation by Japan Telecom for the offer, Vodafone is well placed," says a banker.

The catalyst for the whole process was highly unusual. There was no frontal assault by the foreign invader - Vodafone didn't have to badger Japanese shareholders to bring about the deal. JR East, one of Japan's rail network operators, which holds 15.2% in Japan Telecom, made the first move.

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