AT&T denies interest in Vodafone
AT&T has said today that it does not intend to make a bid for UK operator Vodafone, following months of speculation.
The announcement emerged after a meeting with the UK takeover panel, whereby the US company was asked to clarify its position.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, AT&T said: “AT&T notes the recent speculation regarding a potential transaction involving Vodafone Group. At the request of the UK takeover panel, AT&T confirms that it does not intend to make an offer from Vodafone.”
An offer of in the region of £90 billion was anticipated, and the decision means that AT&T will not be allowed to bid for Vodafone for the next six months.
Despite never officially confirming its interest in Vodafone, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson told reporters last year that it was interested in the European market and would invest at the right price.
An unnamed European telecoms executive with knowledge of the matter said that AT&T’s denial of a bid for Vodafone does not mean it will never happen.
“The AT&T statement has further fuelled the talk that it plans a bid for Vodafone in the second half of the year,” the source told reporters.
Vodafone is due to complete the sale of its stake to Verizon Wireless in the next month, and should a takeover between AT&T and Vodafone materialise, it would create the world’s largest telecoms company by sales.
Shares in Vodafone fell 6% to 219.25p on Monday morning.