AT&T to buy out Vodafone?

AT&T could use Verizon’s pending deal to acquire Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless to potentially buy out the UK group’s remaining assets.

According to sources close to Bloomberg, A&T is looking to expand into the mobile market in Europe, but would be discouraged from any deal if Vodafone continues to expand into cable and fixed-line.

Analysts claim AT&T could pay up to £80 billion for Vodafone’s remaining assets.

Verizon and Vodafone are presently in discussions over a price of approximately $130 billion for the buyout of Verizon Wireless.

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone, has recently adopted a strategy of acquiring fixed-line and wireless assets, including the acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide and, most recently, agreeing in June this year to buy out Kabel Deutschland in Germany.

AT&T – the largest mobile operator in the US – has been touted as a potential investor in Europe, and rumours suggest the company has already sounded out an interest in acquiring UK mobile carrier EE and parts of Spain’s Telefónica.

Considering Europe’s relatively slow roll-out of 4G, AT&T has targeted the continent to offset the negative effects of its maturing domestic market.

It is likely that AT&T would accelerate Vodafone’s 4G strategy if a deal were to go through.

However, sources have claimed that AT&T does not see a future in Vodafone’s present strategy of investing in fixed-line, and would prefer to remain as a pure mobile operator.