May 20, 2008
While Vodafone has still got its wallet out, some speculators believe the mobile operator is eyeing up a portion of Chinese manufacturer Huawei’s handset business.
Rumour has it that Huawei decided to put up to 50 per cent of its handset business on the market last week, in a bid to raise around $2bn and overcome US concerns about security issues related to Chinese companies.
Vodafone has been named as one potential suitor by Chinese press, along with US carrier AT&T and private equity firms Blackstone, TPG and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
The Big V has just shelled out Eur474m for the rest of German fixed line operator Arcor, although the reasoning behind a Huawei deal is that the Chinese company already supplies white label handsets to Voda.
It should also be noted that the fact that operators might be looking to own a source of cheap handsets does not bode well for Motorola. Particularly as the troubled US firm can’t find a buyer for its own unit.
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