British mobile phone carrier Vodafone Group PLC gained management control of Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. Thursday, completing stock purchases through a public tender offer to obtain two-thirds ownership of the company. Completion of the deal means Vodafone has the largest stake in one of the nation's telecommunication vendors among non-Japanese carriers.
Vodafone needed 693,368 shares -- about 21.7 percent of the company -- to add to its existing stake in Japan Telecom to complete the deal. Japan Telecom shareholders offered 1.13 million shares to Vodafone's holding subsidiary Vodafone International Holdings BV, easily meeting Vodafone's ownership threshold for management control. Because more shares were offered than were needed, Vodafone will scale back offers proportionately to meet its original 21.7 percent goal.
Japan Telecom is the third-largest phone carrier in Japan, after NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp. Vodafone now has the largest foreign stake in a Japanese phone company. Japan Telecom's operations cover most modern telecommunication services, including long distance, data and Internet. Vodafone chief aim was control of Japan Telecom's cellular branch, J-Phone Co. Ltd.