Verizon denies Vodafone interest

03 April 2013 | Kavit Majithia


Verizon Communications has rejected rumours that it is interested in merging or acquiring Vodafone following speculation of a possible deal yesterday morning.

The Financial Times reported that both Verizon and AT&T could partner in a possible deal that would carve up the UK group, and see Verizon take full control of Verizon Wireless, of which Vodafone presently owns a large stake.

The news sent Vodafone’s stocks flying as a result, rising by 6% at one point.

AT&T, too, has been rumoured to have been interested in making a European play this year.

Verizon made a statement late yesterday, stating it is still interested in acquiring Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile network, but did not have the “intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others”.

As it has officially denied the speculation, under market rules, Verizon will be prevented from bidding for Vodafone for the next six months unless its board recommends an offer, or there is a rivaling bid for the company.

Sources close to the situation claim there is a limited chance Verizon will partner with a US rival, namely AT&T in any possible deal.

The future of Verizon Wireless has been the subject of wide speculation recently, and Verizon Communications has been clear on its intentions to gain full ownership.

Both Vodafone and Verizon are said to have a good working relationship, and have collaborated on a range of projects including joint procurement of supplies and services.

Vittorio Colao, chief executive at the UK group, has previously stated he remains “open minded” on Verizon Wireless, but it is certain the UK group will seek a high price for a deal in the US, because its portfolio is centred around the much maligned European market.