AT&T Inc tells UK authorities it won't make a bid for Vodafone

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Jan 27, 2014 07:59 AM EST

AT&T Inc.(Reuters) (Credit: Getty Image)

In a statement to authorities in the UK, AT&T Inc said it has no more plans to bid for Vodafone Group Plc, Bloomberg reported. Because it has given up the right to make an offer to buy, the second biggest US wireless carrier will be prevented from making a takeover offer for the next six months. Shares of Vodafone dropped, the report said.

In November, sources told Bloomberg News that executives of AT&T were readying the internal groundwork for a possible purchase of Vodafone in 2014. Another source also told the news outlet that AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson had an informal meeting with Neelie Kroes, the European Union digital commissioner, at the World Economic Forum to talk about possible acquisitions in Europe, the report said.

In a statement issued today, Dallas-based AT&T said, "At the request of the U.K. takeover panel, AT&T confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Vodafone."

Bloomberg reported that AT&T is seeking to grow in Europe as competition heats up in its home market. Its rivals, T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp, are reducing prices and giving additional mobile data to customers in a bid to shatter the supremacy of AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc, the report said.

A source said Stephenson used the World Economic Forum held last week to talk about potential purchases in Europe with the top telecommunications official in the region. The person added that Stephenson and Kroes talked about the possibility of AT&T's offer for Vodafone or another career in Europe. They also talked about regulatory issues, the person said.

Bloomberg reported that based on takeover regulations in the UK, the statement of AT&T meant that except under particular conditions, it won't be able to make an offer to purchase Vodafone or a stake of at least 30% in the firm for the next six months.

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