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History and development

The Company was incorporated under English law in 1984 as Racal Strategic Radio Limited (registered number 1833679). After various name changes, 20% of Racal Telecom Plc capital was offered to the public in October 1988. The Company was fully demerged from Racal Electronics Plc and became an independent company in September 1991, at which time it changed its name to Vodafone Group Plc.

Since then, the Group entered into various transactions, which consolidated the Group’s position in the United Kingdom and enhanced its international presence. The most significant of these transactions were as follows:

  • The merger with AirTouch Communications, Inc., which completed on 30 June 1999. The Company changed its name to Vodafone AirTouch plc in June 1999, but then reverted to its former name, Vodafone Group Plc, on 28 July 2000.
  • The acquisition of Mannesmann AG, which completed on 12 April 2000. Through this transaction the Group acquired subsidiaries in Germany and Italy, and increased the Group’s indirect holding in SFR.
  • Through a series of business transactions between 1999 and 2004, the Group acquired a 97.7% stake in Vodafone Japan. This was then disposed of on 27 April 2006.
  • On 8 May 2007, the Group acquired companies with interests in Vodafone Essar for US$10.9 billion (£5.5 billion), following which the Group controls Vodafone Essar.

Other transactions that have occurred since 31 March 2006 are as follows:

20 April 2006 – South Africa: Increased stake in Vodacom Group (Pty) Limited (‘Vodacom’) by 15.0% to 50.0% for a consideration of ZAR15.8 billion (£1.5 billion).

24 May 2006 – Turkey: The assets of Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon were acquired for US$4.67 billion (£2.6 billion).

29 June 2006 – Greece: The Group’s interest in Vodafone Greece reached 99.9% following a public offer for all outstanding shares.

3 November 2006 – Belgium: Disposed of 25% interest in Belgacom Mobile SA for €2.0 billion (£1.3 billion).

25 November 2006 – Netherlands: Group’s shareholding increased to 100.0% following a compulsory acquisition of outstanding shares.

3 December 2006 – Egypt: Acquired an additional 4.8% stake in Vodafone Egypt bringing the Group’s interest to 54.9%.

20 December 2006 – Switzerland: Disposed of 25% interest in Swisscom Mobile AG for CHF4.25 billion (£1.8 billion).

9 May 2007 – India: A Bharti group company irrevocably agreed to purchase the Group’s 5.60% direct shareholding in Bharti Airtel Limited (see note 30 to the consolidated financial statements).

3 December 2007 – Italy and Spain: Acquired Tele2 Italia SpA and Tele2 Telecommunications Services SLU from Tele2 AB Group for €775 million (£537 million).

11 December 2007 – Qatar: A consortium comprising Vodafone and The Qatar Foundation was named as the successful applicant in the auction to become the second mobile operator in Qatar.

19 May 2008 – Arcor: The Group increased its stake in Arcor for €460 million (£366 million) and now owns 100% of Arcor.

17 August 2008 – Ghana: The Group acquired 70% of Ghana Telecommunications for cash consideration of £486 million (see note 29 to the consolidated financial statements).

18 December 2008 – Poland: The Group increased its stake in Polkomtel S.A. by 4.8% to 24.4% for net cash consideration of €186 million (£171 million).

9 January 2009 – Verizon Wireless: Verizon Wireless completed its acquisition of Alltel Corp. for approximately US$5.9 billion (£3.9 billion).

9 February 2009 – Australia: Announced an agreement to merge its Australian business with Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited, forming a 50:50 joint venture.

20 April 2009 – South Africa: the Group acquired an additional 15% stake in Vodacom for cash consideration of ZAR20.6 billion (£1.6 billion). On 18 May 2009, Vodacom became a subsidiary undertaking following the listing of its shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and concurrent termination of the shareholder agreement with Telkom SA Limited, the seller and previous joint venture partner.