Mannesmann AG was a German corporation with headquarters in Düsseldorf. The company was founded in 1890 originally to produce seamless steel tubes, and in 1999 was acquired by Vodafone in one of the largest acquisitions in recent history. It was traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. (Ticker symbol is MMN.) The company had 130,860 employees worldwide and revenues (1999) of €23.27 billion.
Over time, Mannesmann's reach grew and expanded across several industries, from telecommunications to printers and industrial equipment. In this way, the firm gradually become a diversified conglomerate. Amongst its subsidiaries was Hartmann und Braun, which has since been sold off to Elsag-Bailey, which in turn was subsequently purchased by ABB.
Mannesmann Arcor was Germany's second largest fixed line telephony and internet company. It has been owned solely by Vodafone since May 2008, when Deutsche Bahn (18.17%) and Deutsche Bank (8.18%) sold their shares to Vodafone.
Mannesmann operated Germany's second cellular network carrier known as D2 Mannesmann. Mannesmann Mobilfunk was founded on 1990. This was the main competitor to Germany's incumbent carrier, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile, also known as D1.
Acquisition by Vodafone
Mannesmann was acquired by Vodafone Group Plc. in 2000 in a tax-free stock exchange of 53.7 Vodafone shares for each share of Mannesmann. This was a controversial takeover, since never before in Germany had a large company been acquired by a foreign owner. This was a hostile takeover, but the merger was backed in a private deal between Mannesmann management and Vodafone. The acquisition was led by Vodafone's Chief Executive, Chris Gent, and Goldman Sachs' Scott Mead, who was then the chief advisor on the deal.
Under the terms of the deal, Mannesmann sought assurances from Vodafone that the Mannesmann brand and name would be kept under the new owners. This was agreed and the deal was announced. However, not long after this, Vodafone reneged on the deal and rebranded.
Rebranding to Vodafone
The name Mannesmann ceased to exist in the telecommunication branch soon after the deal with Vodafone. As a result:
- Mannesmann Arcor became Arcor and subsequently Vodafone D2
- D2 Mannesmann became D2 Vodafone and subsequently Vodafone D2
During the Second World War, when the company was chaired by Nazi Party activist Wilhelm Zangen, slave labour was employed at their tube rolling mills. Zangen served four months in prison for his involvement, although he remained a leading figure with Mannesmann until his retirement in 1966.
- "Vodafone übernimmt Arcor vollständig" (in German). Deutscher Depeschendienst. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Wistrich, Robert S. (2001). Who's who in Nazi Germany (3 ed.). Routledge, p. 183
- S. Jonathan Wiesen, West German Industry and the Challenge of the Nazi Past, 1945-1955, UNC Press Books, 2004, p. 28