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Vodafone Japan sold to Softbank
Posted: 17-Mar-2006 [Source: Vodafone]

[Vodafone sells interest in Vodafone K.K. to Softbank due to reduced prospects for superior long-term returns and Softbank's appealing 8.9 billion euro offer.]

Vodafone Group today announces an agreement to sell its 97.68% interest in Vodafone Japan to SoftBank. The sale values Vodafone Japan at an Enterprise Value of approximately 1.8 trillion yen (8.9 billion euro) of which 6.8 billion euro will be received in cash on closing. Subsequently, Vodafone will distribute 6 billion euro of cash to shareholders.

Arun Sarin, Chief Executive of Vodafone, commented: "I am pleased to announce this transaction which represents a good outcome for Vodafone. It is at an attractive price, will result in a 6 billion euro distribution of capital to shareholders and is enhancing to adjusted earnings per share.

The Board has arrived at the decision to withdraw our capital from the Japanese market based on several key criteria. It has become increasingly clear that the greatest operational benefits come from strong local and regional scale. We seek to deploy capital only where we can generate superior returns for our shareholders in markets that offer a strong local position.

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.

I would like to pay tribute to the management and employees of Vodafone Japan. They have made considerable progress in turning the business around. I am pleased that with the on-going relationship with SoftBank, one of the leading telecommunications and media companies in Japan, we will continue to benefit from insights in the Japanese market."

The transaction will be effected through a take-over bid. Under the terms of the agreement SoftBank has an obligation to launch a take-over bid for Vodafone Japan. This obligation is not subject to any material conditions. Should SoftBank fail to finalise its financing and launch the take-over bid by 4 April 2006, it would be liable to pay liquidated damages. Vodafone is legally obliged to sell its shares in to the bid.

Vodafone expects the transaction to complete in the first quarter of the financial year ending 31 March 2007.

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