By Kyle Morris and Mauro Orru 
 

Vodafone Group PLC has rejected an offer from French telecommunications group Iliad aimed at acquiring Vodafone's Italian business for 11.25 billion euros ($12.85 billion).

The U.K.-based telecommunications company said Thursday that it had rejected the preliminary, nonbinding indication of interest from Iliad and Apax Partners LLP since it wasn't in the best interests of shareholders.

While taking note of Vodafone's rejection of its cash offer, Iliad said it was in the best interest of Vodafone's shareholders as it reflected a very high premium for Vodafone Italy and enjoyed strong financial support from one of the top three European banks for the full amount, as well as from a financial partner.

The scuppered deal marks Iliad's first major lost bet since billionaire businessman Xavier Niel delisted the company last year.

Mr. Niel, who founded Iliad in 1999, outlined an offer to take it private in July, following the precedent set by fellow entrepreneur Patrick Drahi in early 2021 when he delisted Altice Europe.

Vodafone said it remains focused on delivering shareholder value through its organic-growth strategy in the medium-term and portfolio optimization.

The company continues to pursue value-accretive consolidation to deliver sustainable market structures in its major European markets, including Italy, it said.

 

Write to Kyle Morris at kyle.morris@dowjones.com and Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com; @MauroOrru94

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 10, 2022 12:37 ET (17:37 GMT)

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