Vodafone lands CWW

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The Independent Online

Vodafone's chief executive Vittorio Colao was celebrating yesterday after his £1bn takeover of Cable & Wireless Worldwide was approved with the backing of 99 per cent of CWW shareholders.

Orbis, CWW's top investor with a 19 per cent stake, had opposed the deal but did a U-turn just before yesterday's vote as it became clear that the telecoms giant had almost unanimous backing from other shareholders.

The Bermuda-based fund manager admitted Vodafone's 38p-a-share cash offer would "eventually succeed even if Orbis were to vote against".

Orbis is said to have bought in at an average of around 50p a share, which could mean it lost upwards of £50m.A spokesman declined to comment. However, it is thought some of Orbis's funds made a profit.

Troubled CWW slumped in value because of debt problems but it has a 20,000-kilometre fibre network that is attractive to Vodafone. Vodafone will become Britain's second biggest telecom firm by revenue, behind BT.