-- Orbis Investment Management supports Vodafone's GBP1.04B offer
-- Orbis had previously said 38p a share offer "didn't reflect inherent value" in C&WW
-- Orbis's assent paves way for the deal to clear
LONDON--U.K. telecommunications operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide PLC (CW.LN) Monday secured approval for an agreed 1.04 billion pound ($1.63 billion) takeover by mobile giant Vodafone Group PLC (VOD.LN) after its largest shareholder, Orbis Investment Management Ltd., swung behind the deal.
Canadian investor Orbis, which has a roughly 19% stake in C&WW, had been holding out until an investor meeting later today to disclose its intentions after earlier casting doubt on whether it would support the deal. Its support paves the way for the deal to close, allowing Vodafone to use the C&WW business to create a fixed-line business in the U.K.
Vodafone's 38 pence-a-share offer required the support of a 75% majority of C&WW's investors.
C&WW earlier Monday said it had received support for the deal from just under 59% of its remaining shareholders, based on proxy votes cast ahead of the meeting, but that it was waiting to hear what Orbis's intentions were.
Vodafone agreed in April to buy C&WW in a bid to transform the purely mobile player into the U.K.'s second-biggest mobile and fixed-line operator behind BT Group PLC. (BT.A.LN)
Shares in C&WW rose in early trading Monday, reflecting relief that Orbis had agreed to back the deal and by 0725 GMT were trading up by just under 8% at close to the 38 pence offer price in London.
C&WW, which was spun out of its parent group Cable & Wireless PLC in early 2010, had seen its share price battered after a series of profits warnings prior to receiving interest from Vodafone and Tata Communications, a unit of the Indian conglomerate, earlier this year. Vodafone announced its agreed deal in April after Tata withdrew from talks with C&WW.
Orbis, in an statement after the agreed Vodafone deal, said the for C&WW "does not appear to reflect the value inherent" in C&WW.
Monday, Orbis said that,following talks with C&WW over the weekend, it expected the bid would eventually succeed even if Orbis were to vote against it.
"In these circumstances, our opposition would only serve to prolong the process because the Company would likely adjourn today's meetings to secure the necessary votes. This is not in the interests of any CWW stakeholder."
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 18, 2012 04:45 ET (08:45 GMT)
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