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One-Fifth of Vodafone Is Now Owned By Rivals Including Liberty

  • CEO Mike Fries calls the Vodafone stake ‘opportunistic’
  • New investors may pressure Vodafone to sell non-core assets
John Malone
John Malone

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Updated on

About one-fifth of Vodafone Group Plc is now owned by its rivals — with Liberty Global Plc taking a surprise 4.9% stake. The company’s growing roster of strategic shareholders is ratcheting up pressure to find ways to boost the value of the stock.

Liberty said Monday it had acquired the holding, which it described as an “opportunistic” bet that the stock is undervalued. Vodafone shares have fallen about 28% in the past 12 months — hitting their lowest level since 1997 in December — and it recently ousted its chief executive officer.