AT&T sets its sight on Vodafone after Verizon deal

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Aug 30, 2013 05:40 AM EDT

Sources told Bloomberg that AT&T was interested with Vodafone Group's wireless business. One of the sources told Bloomberg the US top mobile carrier would probably be uninterested should Vodafone decide to expand its businesses in cable and fixed-line after its exit from Verizon Communications. Both Vodafone and Verizon are involved in a USD130 billion exit wherein Verizon will buy Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless.

Telecommunications analyst James Barford of London-based Enders Analysis said, "Were somebody to buy Vodafone, AT&T would be the primary candidate." Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock estimated that AT&T would be paying around GBP80 billion or USD124 billion after Vodafone settles its exit from Verizon. 

Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao had made a strategic move to acquire wireline assets to circumvent European regulators on wireless mergers. Earlier, the British mobile carrier agreed to pay USD10 billion to acquire the largest cable-teleivision provider in Germany. Vodafone currently has assets in strategic markets from Sydney to Johannesburg. 

AT&T, on the other hand, has been looking into European companies for potential acquisitions, according to sources who were familiar with the US mobile carrier's plans. The emerging market in fourth-generation networks in Europe would be a step up for AT&T to position itself as a potential leader.

Both AT&T and Vodafone declined to comment about the Bloomberg report. 

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