Vodafone in talks with local player

Shares in alternative broadband and fixed-line operator Hellas Online (HOL) jumped more than 10 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday, before trimming gains by the end of the session, after news that mobile operator Vodafone may acquire a minority stake in the company. Vodafone said it is in initial talks with HOL in a bid to become its strategic partner by securing a minority stake in the company in exchange for use of its DSL broadband equipment. «Vodafone and Hellas Online would combine their offerings in the Greek market, making available Vodafone’s mobile phone services and products and Hellas Online’s fixed-line phone and broadband services,» Vodafone said in a statement. It is not certain talks will lead to a final agreement, it added, without giving details concerning a possible time frame for negotiations. Shares in Hellas Online ended 8.14 percent higher at 2.39 euros, pushing its market value to 302.9 million euros, versus a 3.07 percent retreat on the broader market. Shares in Intracom Holding, which owns 63 percent of HOL, fell 3.82 percent to 1.26 euros, reversing mid-session gains. Luxembourg-based World Equities Investments Holding has another 25 percent. HOL is seeking to strengthen ties with Vodafone, with which it already cooperates on mobile phone and high-speed Internet services, as competition grows for combined phone and Internet offerings.

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