Vodafone agrees to buy Hellas Online stake for 73 mln euros
LONDON Aug 22 (Reuters) - Britain's Vodafone has agreed to acquire a further 73 percent stake in Greece's broadband and fixed-line telephony provider Hellas Online for 73 million euros ($97 million), to help it better compete in the highly competitive market.
Vodafone, which bought an 18.5 percent stake in the company in 2009, said the purchase would help it to offer more services to its customers in Greece and better compete with the market leader, OTE.
The transaction is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2014, after which Vodafone Greece will own 91.2 percent of Hellas Online and be under an obligation to extend a mandatory takeover offer for the remaining shares.
Vodafone said Hellas had around 519,000 customers at the end of 2013, representing a market share of around 11 percent.
In a bid to challenge OTE's market leadership in Greece, Vodafone tried but failed in 2012 to merge with Greece's third-biggest operator, Wind Hellas. It has also submitted a joint bid with Wind for Greece's biggest subscription TV provider Forthnet. ($1 = 0.7537 Euros) (Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by David Evans)