Vodafone said it would pay 38 pence per CWW share, an 11.8% premium to the stock's Friday close and 92% more than the shares' close Feb. 10, the day before CWW put itself up for sale.
The target's board is recommending shareholders accept the offer and investors holding 18.6% of CWW's share capital have already said they would accept the bid.
"The acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide creates a leading integrated player in the enterprise segment of the U.K. communications market and brings attractive cost savings to our U.K. and international operations," said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao in a statement.
London-based CWW began reviewing bids after its earnings were dented by companies reducing their IT spending. The tumbling earnings also led to the December resignation of CEO John Pluthero. The auction of London-based CWW lured bids from Vodafone and Mumbai's Tata Communications Ltd. but the suitors reportedly had trouble finalizing their offers, forcing CWW to twice extend the deadline for approaches.
Vodafone said it would only raise the offer if a competing bid arose but Tata dropped out of the auction last week, leaving only the U.K. cellular specialist as a potential bidder. Analysts have said it's little surprise Vodafone, of Newbury, England, was interested in the company. The target's new CEO is Gavin Darby, a former Vodafone executive.
The suitor said it would pay for the acqusition, which will add to earnings in the first year, with existing cash.
In the first half of the fiscal year that ended March 31, CWW slipped to a loss of £590 million ($947.3 million) after £87 million in profit in the first half of the previous fiscal year. Sales for the half slid 4.5% to £1.1 billion.
CWW offers broadband Internet service, primarily to corporate customers around the world. The approach will immediately boost Vodafone's business-related activities while providing it with a global network for moving Internet traffic off its wireless networks and onto fixed-line networks, where the data interacts with the Internet.
CWW shares leapt 17%, or 5.43 pence, to 37.43 pence, just below the offer price.
Vodafone took financial advice from UBS's Simon Warshaw, Jonathan Rowley and Christian Lesueur.
Meanwhile, Barclays Capital's Mark Warham, Jack Callaway and Stuart Ord as well as Rothschild's Nigel Higgins, Richard Murley and Jeremy Boardman acted as financial advisers to CWW.
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