TOKYO, Sept. 17, -- Vodafone Group Plc has launched a move to gain control of Japan Telecom Co Ltd. If successful it would put Vodafone, already the top shareholder in Japan's third-largest carrier Japan Telecom, into direct competition with NTT DoCoMo Inc, Japan's top mobile operator and its main challenger on the global stage.
Vodafone said it was discussing with East Japan Railway Co (JR East) the possibility of buying all or part of its 15.1 percent stake. Vodafone said in a statement that discussions "may or may not lead to a public tender offer to acquire up to 21.7 percent of Japan Telecom's shares." With a combined 66.7 percent stake, Vodafone would be able to clinch management control over Japan Telecom and its mobile unit J-Phone Communications Co Ltd.