Vodafone buys Connex and Oskar

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Vodafone, the world's largest mobile telephone company, has bought Romanian operator Connex and Czech operator Oskar in a deal worth 2.6 billion euro. Both Connex and Oskar were majortarily owned by Telesystem International Wireless Group, a Canadian corporation. While officials from the companies did not make public the individual value of the two operators, it is expected that most of the 2.6 billion euro was paid for Connex, which has a market value of 1.5 to 2.3 billion euro.

The takeover of Connex is said to be the biggest deal in Romania in 15 years. Before the takeover, Vodafone owned 20.1% of the company, while now it owns 99.1%, the remaining 0.9% being owned by a Cypriot company.

Arun Sarin, the CEO of Vodafone, said "I am delighted that [Connex] and Oskar, both fast growing mobile operators, will become part of Vodafone."

Connex is Romania's second-largest mobile telephony operator, with more than 4.9 million customers at the end of 2004 and nearly 50% market share. It is also one of Romania's most recognised and successful corporations, and one of Europe's fastest growing mobile phone operators. Oskar has 1.83 million customers and is also growing at a fast rate.