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 we have entered into various transactions which consolidated our position in the United Kingdom and enhanced our 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 we acquired subsidiaries in Germany and Italy and increased our indirect holding in SFR;
  • through a series of business transactions between 1999 and 2004 we acquired a 97.7% stake in Vodafone Japan. This was then disposed of on 27 April 2006; and
  • on 8 May 2007 we acquired companies with interests in Vodafone Essar for US$10.9 billion (£5.5 billion), following which we control Vodafone Essar.

Other transactions that have occurred since 31 March 2007 are as follows:

9 May 2007 – India: A Bharti group company irrevocably agreed to purchase our 5.60% direct shareholding in Bharti Airtel Limited.

3 December 2007 – Italy and Spain: Acquired Tele2 Italia SpA and Tele2 Telecommunications Services SLU from Tele2 AB Group for €747 million (£532 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: We increased our stake in Arcor for €460 million (£366 million) and now own 100% of Arcor.

17 August 2008 – Ghana: We acquired 70.0% of Ghana Telecommunications for cash consideration of £486 million.

18 December 2008 – Poland: We increased our 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).

20 April 2009 – South Africa: We acquired an additional 15.0% stake in Vodacom for cash consideration of ZAR 20.6 billion (£1.6 billion). On 18 May 2009 Vodacom became a subsidiary 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 (see note 26 to the consolidated financial statements).

10 May 2009 – Qatar: Vodafone Qatar completed a public offering of 40.0% of its authorised share capital raising QAR 3.4 billion (£0.6 billion). The shares were listed on the Qatar Exchange on 22 July 2009. Qatar launched full services on its network on 7 July 2009.

9 June 2009 – Australia: Vodafone Australia merged with Hutchison 3G Australia to form a 50:50 joint venture, Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited (see note 26 to the consolidated financial statements).

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