Vodafone on the prowl for more cable properties

Vodafone, already the world's second largest mobile carrier, is looking to increase its footprint in the cable space as well--either through acquisition or competition, its top executive says.

"If smaller cable companies were available for sale we would look at them," CEO Vittorio Colao said in Lisbon. "If they are not available for sale, we'll build fiber in their areas and then we will see."

Vodafone's aggressiveness is partially the result of money it got when it sold its Verizon Wireless stake to Verizon (NYSE: VZ). It's also coming at a time when John Malone's Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) is increasingly active in bulking up on European assets.

Vodafone has already agreed to buy Spain's Grupo Corporativo Ono and Germany's Kabel Deutschland Holding AG. Liberty, meanwhile, answered by snatching up Dutch MVPD Ziggo.

Colao also predicted there will be competition for subscribers in Portugal, which already saw consolidation when Zon Multimedia merged with Optimus and Portugal Telecom merged with Brazil's Oi.

"In Portugal there are two strong players and we will make sure that the third, Vodafone, makes a strong competitive play," Colao promised.

To fulfill that promise, Vodafone is building a fiber network to connect 1.5 million households.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this story

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