Jul 30, 2017

Vodafone revamp shifts focus away from Newbury HQ

Vodafone has begun a fresh three-year programme to turn round its ailing UK business that will see power devolved from its Newbury headquarters to other parts of the UK, notably London and Manchester. Even with a £2bn investment budget over the next 18 months, analysts argue that Vodafone faces an uphill challenge in the UK. Dhananjay Mirchandani, an analyst with Bernstein, said: "Vodafone UK has been the weakest link in the group's European portfolio. Much of the UK's issues are related to legacy baggage from the Cable & Wireless acquisition [in 2012] and its drag on margins." The poor performance of Vodafone UK has increased speculation that Vodafone could look to reignite merger talks with Liberty Global. Rather than waiting for a deal with Liberty to happen, Vodafone is going "Hell for leather", according to one executive within the company, to improve its UK performance under Nick Jeffrey, who took over as country chief last September. Key to that is a move to devolve powers away from Newbury to deal with a perceived "Cultural problem" that Vodafone faced within the UK. It had become "Unambitious", according to two senior people within the company.

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