UK says e& stake in Vodafone poses nationwide safety dangers


e& had elevated its stake in Vodafone to 14.4% final 12 months

The U.Ok. authorities says that the stake in native provider Vodafone held by United Arab Emirates-backed telecoms group poses a nationwide safety danger to the nation.

The Cupboard Workplace lately issued a discover warning that the 14.6% stake held in Vodafone by Emirates Telecoms, often known as e&, represents a safety concern for the authorities as a result of strategic function of Vodafone within the U.Ok.’s telecommunications market and given the telco’s function in contributing to the U.Ok.’s cybersecurity and as a provider to authorities departments.

The federal government ordered Vodafone to arrange a nationwide safety committee with the purpose of overseeing and monitoring any delicate work it carries out which might have an effect on nationwide safety. The U.Ok. authorities highlighted that this motion was obligatory and proportionate with the purpose of mitigating the chance to nationwide safety.

e&, which is 60% owned by the UAE authorities, elevated its possession in Vodafone to 14.6%. The UAE telco had initially invested £3 billion ($3.82 billion) in Vodafone in 2022. Underneath the phrases of the strategic partnership, e& can enhance its stake within the U.Ok. provider to simply below 25%.

As a part of the deal, the CEO of e& was given a seat on Vodafone’s board topic to regulatory approvals, with the Arab telco additionally given the chance to nominate an unbiased non-executive director if its stake in Vodafone will increase above 20%.

The Cupboard Workplace additionally famous the partnership would allow e& to “materially affect coverage at Vodafone”. Oliver Dowden, secretary of state on the Cupboard Workplace, has made a number of orders, together with necessities that the U.Ok. authorities be notified if any factor of the connection adjustments.

Final 12 months, Vodafone Group and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings had entered into binding agreements in relation to a mixture of their telecommunication companies within the U.Ok., respectively Vodafone UK and Three UK.

The brand new entity can have 27 million prospects, which might make it the biggest cellular community within the U.Ok., in accordance with printed stories. Underneath the phrases of the deal, Vodafone will personal 51% of the brand new entity whereas Hutchison Group will personal 49%.

The transaction is anticipated to shut earlier than the top of 2024, topic to regulatory and shareholder approvals.


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