This however oversimplifies what is famously a sprawling and complex multinational business: a point not missed by investors. In January it was revealed that activist fund Cevian Capital had taken a stake in the telecoms business hoping to encourage management to restructure its portfolio and focus its strategy on key markets.
In fairness to Vodafone, CEO Nick Read has for the last three years been engaged in such a project. Yet, this is indicative of a wider trend in huge UK conglomerates, where activist investors are pushing for consolidation and greater focus.
In Vodafone’s case, it is clearly cognizant of its failings and is focussing on its key markets with Germany being the jewel in its crown. The question remains whether doubling down in Germany can compensate for the perennial laggard markets of Italy and Spain. Speculation concerning consolidation in these markets has ramped up in recent weeks but Vodafone remain tight lipped. This has returned to renewed focus as Cevian joins the list of impatient shareholders.