AT&T looks at range of M&A options in Europe – reports

21 Jun 2013
AT&T

AT&T, which this week was linked to a possible takeover of Telefonica, is also considering a number of other takeover or investment opportunities in Europe, according to reports.

The US operator expressed an interest “informally” in buying a 30 per cent stake in Telefonica Group, according to Bloomberg, quoting people familiar with the situation but the operator has also considered other permutations, such as purchasing Telefonica’s O2 UK unit. Telefonica’s Latin America assets were also assessed, said the report.

Telefonica denied an approach had been made.

Other investments are also under consideration with a focus on European mobile operators.

Assets owned by Vodafone have been considered, according to the Bloomberg report. So has EE, the UK joint venture between France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom.

Interest in EE and Vodafone, as well as past scrutiny of KPN, is also mentioned in the Financial Times, which quotes corporate advisers familiar with possible deals.

However, if no big investment occurs then AT&T could choose to offer services on an over-the-top basis directly to end-users. Possible candidates include the connected car and digital home services markets, which the US operator is actively involved in.

The US operator sees Europe as under-developed in terms of LTE deployment, which would present it with an opportunity, one of the arguments in favour of investment right now.

Also, European telecoms valuations are arguably undervalued at present because of the continent’s general economic malaise.

AT&T’s interest in European investment first surfaced some months ago, and now seems to be a work in progress.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s health and money channels. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade...More

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