Bob Collymore
Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore

Vodacom South Africa on Monday got a 35% stake in Safaricom from the Vodafone group.

In a statement from the two entities, Vodafone will exchange a 35% indirect interest in Safaricom for new ordinary Vodacom shares but will continue to hold a 5% indirect interest in Safaricom, in addition to the interest held through Vodacom.

The deal is expected to accelerate the mobile operator’s expansion into international markets but experts see the initial steps for an eventual bid by Vodacom, even a hostile one, a move that its parent company may not have been able to easily execute.

As part of the transaction, Vodafone Group has  assured the Government of Kenya of the ongoing success of the longstanding partnership between Safaricom, Vodafone Group and the Government of Kenya.

Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom, says the agreement will ensure Safaricom continues enjoying strong Kenyan representation at Board and management levels.

“It also promotes the continued successful expansion of the company as well as the opportunity to drive M-PESA to other markets in the continent,” he said in a statement.

The transaction is, however, subject to approvals from Vodacom minority shareholders and the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank as well as confirmation from the Kenya Capital Markets Authority that the transaction does not trigger an obligation for Vodacom to make a mandatory bid for Safaricom.