ABN - Vodacom (JSE:VOD) will take a 35% stake in Kenyan operator Safaricom from its parent company Vodafone, in a deal worth US$2.59 billion.
The move by Vodacom is an attempt to expand its reach in Kenya, where Safaricom dominates the booming mobile banking sector with its M-Pesa platform.
Safaricom is 40% owned by Vodafone and 35% by Kenya’s government, however the deal will be paid for via a transfer of shares from Vodafone to its subsidiary.
Vodacom will maintain a 5% stake in Safaricom, although recent reports have indicated that the South African firm may acquire the Kenyan government’s stake.
“The proposed transaction will expose Vodacom Group to the attractive high growth Kenyan market, being one of the largest and most advanced economies in East and central Africa that has made significant strides in technological innovation,” said Vodacom in a statement.
This manoeuvring in the Kenyan market by Vodafone suggests the company could also look to switch its Ghanaian and Egyptian units into Vodacom’s ownership, although this remains to be seen.