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pollo, JB Capital preparing bid for Vodafone's Spanish unit, Expansion says

MADRID - U.S.-based buyout fund Apollo Global Management is readying a bid with local fund JB Capital for the Spanish unit of telecom giant Vodafone (VOD.L), the Expansion newspaper reported on Monday citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter.

The news about a potential bid comes three weeks after British telecom investment company Zegona (ZEG.L) said it was in talks with Vodafone to buy the Spanish unit.

The company could be worth as much as 5 billion euros ($5.27 billion), Expansion estimated.

Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle launched a strategic review of the Spanish unit earlier this year. She said in May she was open to "structural change", indicating a sale was an options for a business that has battled intense price competition in recent years.

Vodafone is one of the three largest telecom operators in Spain together with Telefonica (TEF.MC) and the local unit of France's Orange (ORAN.PA). The latter is in the process of merging with MasMovil, the fourth largest operator.

Apollo and JB Capital did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Spain-based spokesperson for Vodafone declined to comment.

($1 = 0.9485 euros)


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