The share, which totals a meagre 3.2 percent, is one of several minority investments Vodafone said it will be selling off as it no longer considers them of “strategic value”. 74 percent of China Mobile is owned by state-run China Mobile Communications, making the 3.2 percent share a much larger slice of the external share pie.
The sale may be a good call for Vodafone as China Mobile’s growth has been slowing considerably over the last year or two, making it less of a money-maker than it was when Vodafone first invested.
Vodafone has made a sizeable profit from the sale, doubling its initial investment of $3.25 billion in 2000. It plans to offer 70 percent of this to shareholders in the company.
Vodafone has small shares in other mobile operators in Poland, France and India, all of which it intends to sell off as part of its new plans, backed by pressure from investors who saw the purchases as failures of previous management.
Vodafone’s CEO, Vittoria Celao, has also confirmed an interest in selling off its 45 percent share of Verizon Wireless, which represents a much bigger venture than the relatively small shares it owns in other companies around the world.
“China Mobile and Vodafone have established close co-operation in business and technology areas since 2000. Both side will continue to cooperate in these areas in the future,” said a spokesperson for China Mobile.