Vodafone close to SFR, Polkomtel sales: report

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Vodafone (VOD.L: ) is close to selling its 44 percent stake in mobile phone operator SFR to France’s Vivendi (VIV.PA: ), paving the way for Vodafone buy back 5 billion pounds ($7.9 billion) in its own shares in 2011, a UK newspaper said on Sunday.

Analysts have valued SFR at as much as 8 billion euros ($10.74 billion).

Vivendi has long been seen as a likely acquirer of telecom group Vodafone’s SFR stake. Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said last month that taking full control of SFR was a top priority for the company.

The Observer newspaper said Vodafone was also close to announcing an 800 million pound deal involving the disposal of its stake in Polish phone group Polkomtel.

Four people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month that Polish media mogul Zygmunt Solorz-Zak could wade in to the multi-billion euro bid battle for Polkomtel.

Sources had also told Reuters in October that Vodafone was set to appoint Goldman Sachs (GS.N: ) to advise it on a possible sale of its Polkomtel stake.

Vodafone and Vivendi declined to comment on The Observer report.

($1=.6338 Pound)

($1=.7452 Euro)

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Kate Holton and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Karen Foster)

Vodafone close to SFR, Polkomtel sales: report